By Deron Hamel
Alexa Graham has never been one to let epilepsy stand in the way of her dreams.
The recent high-school graduate from Timmins, Ont. was diagnosed with the condition as a young child. From that time, Alexa says she and her family were told she would never be able to “lead a normal life” because of epilepsy.
But Alexa has not only led a normal life, she has thrived. This is due to what she says is her greatest strength: her ambition.
“My biggest strength is that I don’t let anyone or anything get in the way of achieving my goals in life,” Alexa says, adding she has “always fought very hard” to make sure epilepsy doesn’t control her life.
“When the doctors said I would never ride a bike, I did. When they said it was unlikely for me to ever be able to read, I did. Same thing was said about skiing and driving, and here I am, doing all of these things despite the odds not being in my favour.”
Alexa is one of four recipients of Epilepsy Ontario’s annual scholarship. Now that she has completed high school, Alexa will be attending college to train to become a physiotherapy and occupational therapy assistant.
For more than 15 years, Epilepsy Ontario has been providing scholarships to exceptional students who have confronted and overcome remarkable barriers in their academic and personal lives due to their epilepsy.
Asked how she would like to impact the epilepsy community, Alexa says she would like to help others “embrace their condition, rather than live in fear of it,” as she has done.
“Epilepsy is only a single aspect of a person; it does not define who they are, nor should anybody have to live in fear or with limitations of the condition,” she says.
As she looks towards her future, Alexa says she will continue to set her sights on her goals and achieve them.
“Because another one of my strengths is that I never give up, no matter what obstacles present themselves,” she says.