Amelia Neumann, 13, is taking a stand against epilepsy from Baton Rouge all the way to the nation’s capital.  Not only is she participating in the upcoming Seize the Day race, but she is also representing Epilepsy Foundation Louisiana and the 90,000 people in the state living with epilepsy as a 2015 Teens Speak Up! advocate next month.

Teens Speak Up! is a program coordinated by the national foundation to rally young ambassadors with epilepsy to personally petition congressional leaders for aid in assuring better access to care, improved public education and research towards a cure for epilepsy. She will travel to Washington, D.C., where she will participate in the National Walk for Epilepsy on April 11th and tell lawmakers about her experiences living with epilepsy.

Diagnosed with partial-complex seizures at five months old, Amelia has plenty of practice talking about epilepsy. She is even one of the original members of our Teen Support Group in Baton Rouge.  She enjoys spending time with kids her age who have epilepsy and participating in fun activities like bowling, laser tag and art classes.  Amelia doesn’t give up on things just because she has epilepsy and encourages others not to feel bad about their disorder either.  She has been involved in cheerleading, volleyball and currently rides horses, proving she can do stuff any other kid can do.

Amelia and her family are passionate about raising awareness for epilepsy and are very involved with EFL.  Her mom, Lydie, says, “By getting involved, families can meet new friends and help in the fight against epilepsy.  We encourage all to participate in the race, which allows families to meet at a fun event for all ages, as well as the annual gala which allows parents and friends to unite while raising money to provide services, support and education.”

Each year Amelia encourages everyone she knows to donate to her team for Seize the Day. They even won the cruise one year for raising the most money!  She now organizes a team with her best friend, Brianna. Last year they raised over $4,000 together. Amelia and Brianna met each other through activities provided by the Foundation and have formed a close bond. “EFL gives us a sense of community and family.  It is nice to have people who share the same daily strengths and struggles,” says Amelia.

This smart girl, whose seizures are controlled with medication, is sure to leave her mark with every step she takes at Seize the Day this month and at the National Walk in D.C.

Louisiana is so proud to have her as our voice this year!

amelia brianna

Amelia with her mom, brothers, and friend, Brianna at Seize the Day 2014