WRITTEN BY AMANDA ZODO

November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month.

In 2002, I was diagnosed with right partial epilepsy and I have been struggling with it for 10 years.

Not many people know what epilepsy is. According to the NYU Langone Medical Center, epilepsy is a disorder in which a person has two or more unprovoked seizures. Currently, there is no cure for epilepsy but it is monitored by medication.

When a person has a seizure, or an “episode,” some people do not know what to do in that situation because they are in shock or they may have never seen a person have a seizure.

Sometimes, people do not know what to do when they see someone have a seizure.

In 2008, I had a seizure in St. Francis College and no one knew what to do. Seizure first aid is very important.

If you see someone having a seizure, lay them on their side and assure them that everything will be alright. Place a soft object such as a pillow, a sweater or jacket under their head so that they will not be injured and do not put anything in the person’s mouth.

If you see someone having a seizure for the first time or if the seizure lasts for more than five minutes, call 911.

I am a senior in college taking four classes and reporter for SFC Today. Also, I work part time at a real estate office, intern for one of the nation’s top television networks and I am currently working on my senior thesis. The topic for my thesis is awareness and the fight for a cure for epilepsy. Several people have told me that I can’t and/or I will not be able to do anything because of my condition and I continuously prove them wrong.

When I wrote the proposal for my senior thesis last May, my advisor, Dr. Lynne Jackson, did not even know that I struggle with right partial epilepsy. After reading my proposal, she approved it and I am currently working on as my senior thesis. My thesis is a public service announcement about epilepsy, seizure first aid, awareness and the fight for a cure.

My neurologist, Dr. Orrin Devinsky in the NYU Epilepsy Center informed me about an organization that he is the founder of called “NYU FACES.” “FACES” stands for: Find a Cure for Epilepsy and Seizures. Once Dr. Devinsky told me about NYU FACES, I knew I wanted to get involved.

NYU FACES holds an annual gala in March in Chelsea Piers on Pier Sixty. I was asked to help during the gala. This year, the master of ceremonies was Jon Stewart. During this gala, people bid on several items. These items include everything from Broadway tickets, autographed items and all expenses paid vacations and cruises. It was an amazing experience and I will be a part of it next year.

What I plan to do is use the skills I have acquired while attending St. Francis College, which include film & broadcasting, journalism, event organization, promotions and social media to help NYU Faces in every way I can, create awareness about epilepsy and take part in the fight for a cure.

Even though I struggle with this condition, I am not letting it stop me from doing what I want to do in life, film and television production, but most importantly living my life.

According to the National Epilepsy Foundation, three million people in the United States have Epilepsy and fifty million people worldwide.

I have epilepsy, epilepsy doesn’t have me.

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