Epilepsy diagnoses motivates student ‘to leap further and work harder’

August 31, 2017

By Deron Hamel

Mackenzie Fast says being diagnosed with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy has only made her work harder towards her goals in life.

Mackenzie Fast, one of the five recipients of this year’s Osler Epilepsy Scholarship, is seen here holding her award alongside Epilepsy Ontario executive director Paul Raymond.

Mackenzie, who graduated from St. Joseph’s Catholic High School in St. Thomas, Ont., in June, will soon be starting her first year of studies at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo. She has her sights set on pursuing a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and following up with either a master’s degree in the subject or a law degree.

The honours student was diagnosed with a seizure disorder when she returned to Canada after living in Fiji for her Grade 11 year. While she says her diagnosis at first caused her stress, she has learned to adapt and move forward.

“This challenge only encouraged me to leap further and work harder,” Mackenzie says.

In addition to her academic achievements, Mackenzie is also involved with athletics and has been involved with swimming, soccer and cross-country running since a young age.

She is also active in her community in many ways. She participates in charity runs, city road races and volunteers as a youth swim coach and fitness advocate. This, she says, has helped her learn the values of teamwork and dedication.

“By grasping academic, co-curricular and community-based opportunities, I have learned to tackle obstacles with determination, enthusiasm and mindfulness; allowing myself, my future and those in my path to prosper,” Mackenzie says.

Mackenzie is one of the recipients of this year’s Osler Epilepsy Scholarship. The $1,500 scholarship, formerly called the OBCL Epilepsy Scholarship, is being offered to five students this year.

Osler Epilepsy Scholarships are awarded each year to exceptional students who have confronted and overcome remarkable barriers in their academic and personal lives due to their epilepsy.

Applicants also submit an essay about how epilepsy has impacted their lives as well as an outline of their future plans.

If you have feedback on this story, or have a story of your own that you would like to share, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

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