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Teen in Arkansas works to educate others about Epilepsy

Sadie Kirk was diagnosed with Epilepsy at just four years old, and thanks to her efforts, in Arkansas, November is now known as Epilepsy Awareness Month.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — There are many people in the world who deal with what is known as an "invisible illness" where they deal with a medical condition that isn't outwardly visible to other people. 

One of those invisible conditions that someone might have, is Epilepsy. 

According to the Epilepsy Foundation, there are over 32,000 people who have been living with Epilepsy in Arkansas— And Sadie Kirk is one of those people.

At a young age, she’s already been working hard to spread awareness about the illness and make sure people living with Epilepsy know they are not alone.

Like most high school students, Sadie explained that she's taking part in different clubs and organizations.

“I'm an orchestra magnet and I participate in the Arkansas Youth Symphony Orchestra,” said Kirk.

She’s also explained that she's a part of 4H and Girl Scouts.

“The main thing I’m working on my life right now is with Girl Scouts, where I’m doing my gold award,” said Kirk.

On top of doing all of that, she works closely with the Epilepsy Foundation Arkansas.

“Epilepsy is really important to me because I’ve had Epilepsy since I was four years old,” said Kirk.

Through the foundation, she has actively worked to make sure more people are aware of Epilepsy and know what to do if someone were to be having a seizure.

“There are 19 states currently that have the seizure first aid training and Arkansas is not one of them,” said Kirk. “So, we're working really hard to try to get that in Arkansas.”

For Sadie, it’s not just about bringing awareness but also about making sure others going through the same thing feel seen, because she has seen firsthand how isolating it can be.

“People don't understand what I’m going through. I don't know anybody who has epilepsy in my community, and it made me feel very alone,” Kirk added.

Sadie's mom, Charlene, has been right by her side supporting her every step of the way.

“She's really taken something that she's had to live with and had to try to navigate and made it such an amazing thing,” said Charlene.

 Minor, everyday tasks can take a lot out of someone who has been diagnosed with Epilepsy.

“When she gets anxiety, or she gets tired, or she just starts reading, you know, she'll have a little seizure, and then she has to start again,” Charlene described. 

“So, you know, what a lot of people take for granted. You know, Sadie’s had to kind of like overcome that just to be able to do it,” she added.

On both the good days and the bad, Charlene said she has found inspiration in her daughter’s strength.

“She's like taking charge of her life, you know, taking charge of the advocacy part of it, I would have never, you know, never have guessed that it would go this direction,” said Charlene.

Sadie hopes to be a voice for people who have found themselves in the same shoes she's in.

“I want to be able to be that person who can say, you know, whether I’m drug-resistant, whether I’m still having Epilepsy, you can do you can do anything you can do whatever you set your mind to,” She explained.

If you would like to learn more about the foundation, click here.

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