The 2013 recipients of the Jim Davies Scholarship were announced at the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago’s June 20 Board of Directors Meeting. This scholarship is awarded annually in the amount of $1,000 to individuals with epilepsy who will be incoming freshmen to a college or vocational/technical school and will be a full-time student for the 2013/2014 academic school year. This year, Erin Marie Foley of New Lenox, IL; Jennifer R. Smith of Chicago, IL; and Erin Vander Pas of Lake Zurich, IL received the award due to their strong commitment to their education and perseverance in overcoming the obstacles epilepsy may present.
Erin Marie Foley
Erin Marie Foley, a graduate of Lincoln-Way West, will be attending Eastern Illinois University this fall and plans to major in Pre-Medical studies. Erin’s diagnosis of epilepsy and Type I diabetes, as well as losing her father to brain cancer at the age have seven, have greatly influenced her academic pursuits. “Seeing firsthand how important everyone’s role is from the EMS personnel to the pharmacist in what they do in helping others has helped pick my career goal.” After recently witnessing an open heart surgery with her school class, Erin has taken an interest in Anesthesiology and is ready to open the next chapter of her life. “I know that I will have to work harder than anyone else who may pick pre-med, but I am determined to succeed and am up for the challenges that I may face along the way.”
Jennifer R. Smith
Jennifer R. Smith, a graduate of Mount Assisi Academy, will be attending Moraine Valley Community College this fall. Jennifer was diagnosed with Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy in October 2011 and suffered a severe allergic reaction to the medication she was prescribed. Due to this reaction, she was diagnosed with Stevens Johnson Syndrome and spent a month the the Burn Intensive Care Unit. Additional medical complications did not make things any easier, however, Jennifer did not let that deter her. “Having epilepsy has caused me to realize how precious life really is… I am very happy that I survived Stevens Johnson Syndrome,” Jennifer says. “I cannot change the fact that I went through it, but I can continue making my future brighter by continuing my education.”
Erin Vander Pas
Erin Vander Pas, a graduate of Lake Zurich High School, will be attending the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay this fall with an interest in Non-Profit Management as a major. Erin’s involvement with the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago has greatly impacted her academic interests, as she hopes to one day work for the organization. She represented the Foundation at the 2012 Kids Speak Up! Advocacy Conference in Washington, DC in 2011 and currently serves on its Youth Council. Epilepsy has caused “many ups and downs” in Erin’s life, however, she has not let that discourage her from achieving success. Despite experiencing academic difficulties and bullying from peers due to her epilepsy, she continues to push forward. “It is a constant struggle for me to keep up with homework because my medications make me extremely tired ,” Erin explains. “Yet, I don’t let this slow me down. I spend extra time studying whenever I can and am extremely dedicated to keeping my grades up.” Erin also keeps the opinions of fellow students from affecting her. “I deal with peers judging me due to my epilepsy… I want to prove them all wrong. My dream is to help all of those children out there with epilepsy that have had the same struggles I do.”
Read all about Jim Davies here.