- 27 July 2013
- by Morrisa Marshall
Jessica Waters, 16 of Beavercreek, Ohio, was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 11. After being diagnosed, she has been bullied, stereotyped, and left out. Jessica did not let the way others treat her, tear her down; in fact, it lead her to educate others and taught her patience.
Jessica has turned her disability into something positive. She is helping others deal with epilepsy, as well as educate those who know little to nothing about the disability. One of the first projects that she began was her charity, Cupcakes for Camp. Attending Camp Flame Catcher, a camp for kids with epilepsy, made Jessica feel very happy and proud. She decided she wanted other kids with epilepsy feel the same. Cupcakes for Camp raises money to allow other children to attend the camp.
Along with her charity, Jessica has received several awards and accolades because of her humanitarian work. As of today, she has achieved almost 700 volunteer hours from her charity among others. Along with her efforts to send children to Camp Flame Catcher, she will be one of the camp counselors. “I will love every moment of it, that in itself will change you forever,” Jessica says.
For all of the amazing work that Jessica has done, she has received many awards and titles. She was named United Way Outstanding Student of the Year, Youth of the Year by the Dayton Exchange Club, Miss Ohio Jr. Teen America 2012, and is currently Miss Beavercreek 2013. She is also a varsity cheerleader at her high school, maintains a 3.7 GPA, and “most of all I am a teen, a normal teen who just happens to have epilepsy, I still hope, dream and laugh the same”, she explains.
At the age of 16, Jessica continues to raise awareness about epilepsy by speaking at schools and universities. She has also published a story about her battle with epilepsy, bullying and acceptance. She continues to live her life and with the support of her mother, Chastity. Jessica acknowledges that her mother has helped her realize that, “this life is mine, and mine only, I have to live it for me, and along the way fight when needed. The biggest thing, she loves me and reminds me every day.”
Sometimes it’s the little things that people say or do, to help keep you strong.