By Deron Hamel
Megan Sherwin was diagnosed with epilepsy at age 9. She’s also living with cerebral palsy. But living with these conditions does not control her life. In fact, Megan says she finds herself inspired to show others that she can do anything she wants.
“I have faced many challenges growing up, but that did not stop me from giving up at all,” Megan says.
“The biggest obstacle I think I have had to face is adversity. I’ve always had to show people that even though I have a disability and seizures, I can do anything I set my mind to.”
Megan describes herself as someone who likes to lead by example. At school, she played soccer and basketball. She also took piano lessons and has worked as a summer camp counsellor, a swimming instructor and lifeguard. She has played hockey and is an accomplished para-swimmer who has competed at a national level.
“Although all these achievements may not seem like obstacles, getting to them was,” she says.
“People doubted me when I tried out for teams or started a new activity. They would take a look and say, ‘Why is she here? She won’t be any good.’
“So, I had to push past all the negativity and try out for the things that I wanted to, whether I was any good at them or not. … I believe that because I’ve done all these things, it’s made me the person I am today and the person I want to be in the future.”
Looking ahead, Megan says whichever career path she decides on, she wants to be able to help others and make a difference in people’s lives.
She especially hopes to inspire children living with epilepsy and help them understand that they can accomplish their goals, Megan says.
“My vision is that one day people will forget that they even (have) epilepsy because they are living their best life to the fullest,” she says.
Megan is now in her second year of study in the recreation and sport business program at the University of Waterloo. She is also 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 six 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.
As part of this year’s application process, students submitted a 600- to 900-word essay focused on how they could see themselves helping an epilepsy association or another charitable organization in the future, based on their personal experiences.