We are pleased and honored to announce our 2015 Hydrocephalus Association Teens Take Charge Scholarship Recipients.
The Hydrocephalus Association’s (HA) program, Teens Take Charge (TTC), trains teenagers and young adults who are affected by hydrocephalus to advocate for themselves specifically with health professionals and with their legislators. TTC provides support, resources, and training, as well as awareness and fundraising opportunities for teens and young adults to effectively communicate their stories. It’s a great way for youth to connect with others who share similar experiences.
Through a generous grant from the Clare Rose Foundation, the Hydrocephalus Association is able to award five scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each to these extraordinary young adults.
We are grateful for the generous support of the the Clare Rose Foundation, and all of the individuals who have held events and contributed to TTC. They have made it possible for HA to create a real “teen and young adult community” that continues to grow and develop around the primary goals of the program.
We applaud these young adults for their academic achievements, extracurricular activities and determination. They are an inspiration to everyone at the Hydrocephalus Association and to our entire community!
Congratulations 2015 TTC Scholarship Recipients!
“Though hydrocephalus does not define me, it has taught me what it’s like to work hard and what it means to be compassionate. It has helped me discover who I am today, and who I will be in the future.”
Madison is a freshman at California Lutheran University, where she is studying Theatre Arts with a focus on performance. She loves acting and was a part of many productions throughout high school. She also was an intern at a local community theatre, working with children ages 6-10, assisting at rehearsals and performances with acting and dance activities. “I love the entire process of a production, from all of the rehearsals to the final performances. Theatre has taught me about responsibility, collaboration and devotion.”
Madison was diagnosed with hydrocephalus when she was 10 weeks old and has had five surgeries since that time. She is passionate about helping others with the condition; especially other teens. Studying hard and never giving up, despite the challenges her hydrocephalus presents, Madison is determined to succeed in living to the fullest.
Madison is a member of the Teens Take Charge Advisory Council and has actively joined the Hydrocephalus Association in her local WALK and has participated in the National Conference on Hydrocephalus. She plans to continue these activities, especially helping teens become better self-advocates and letting them know that they are not alone.
“We are working on becoming a strong voice for teens with hydrocephalus, for which I am extremely grateful.”
“I think it is important for kids with hydrocephalus to know that they are not alone; others have gone through similar things and are healthy now.”
Logan recently started classes at Chamberlain College of Nursing where he is pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing degree. He plans to eventually work towards a Master’s degree and becoming a pediatric neurosurgical nurse practitioner.
“I look at a college degree as an investment in myself. I will be able to learn more about myself and my passions. I will be able to further my passions for the medical field and find new passions for other things like sports and other extracurricular activities, which I have missed out on over the years, having been in the hospital so often.”
Growing up, Logan enjoyed all kind of sports. At age six, he was in a sledding accident, was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with a concussion. At that time, his doctors also noticed a brain tumor and hydrocephalus. Since then, his hydrocephalus journey has been filled with many brain surgeries, long hospital stays, weeks and months out of school due to recovery, and yet he maintained a 4.0 grade average in school. He still enjoys sports of any kind, and recently started playing tennis.
Logan dreams of helping people with hydrocephalus and other neurological disorders, both physically and emotionally. After living with hydrocephalus and chronic headaches for most of his life, Logan plans to pursue his passion for the medical field and caring for others as a nurse and sharing his experiences of hydrocephalus.
“I would share my experiences and struggles with hydrocephalus with them to show them that even though they are struggling, everything will get better. If I had to give advice to a child who is newly diagnosed with hydrocephalus, I would tell them to keep their head up and stay happy.”
“While I never would have chosen to have a chronic health condition, learning to deal with it has made me a stronger person.”
Daniel is a freshman at Boston University, in the Kiachand Honors College, an elite program that admits roughly 150 students each year. He is majoring in International Relations and plans to have a career in public service, working internationally and helping to develop policies and practices that empower impoverished families to obtain resources and medical care to improve their lives.
“Once I realized how much where I had been born influenced my ability to thrive with hydrocephalus, I knew I wanted to dedicate my life helping others gain access to the elements of a good life. Clean water, adequate food, an education and, yes, basic healthcare should not be luxury items. They should be the minimum every child receives as a birthright.”
Daniel was diagnosed with hydrocephalus at 6 months old and has since gone through multiple surgeries. He attributes his ability to overcome these complications to a sense of optimism, gratitude for all those who have helped him and ‘grit’ – “doing what it takes to get where I want to be in life.”
Daniel loves almost all kinds of sports, has participated in HA’s WALK events and local Community Network activities. Daniel is dedicated to make the world a better place. He is a member of six honor societies and served as a youth member of the board of directors of America’s Promise Alliance and the State Farm Youth Advisory Board. He also co-founded an organization named the Student Alliance for Public School.
“Hydrocephalus has no doubt been a part of my life that I wish I didn’t have to live with. With that said, I am able to see what hydrocephalus has given me, as opposed to what it’s taken away. Although some may see hydrocephalus as a burden to live with, I choose to investigate and embrace every unique pathway that continues to shape my identity.”
James is currently enrolled in the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he is studying mechanical engineering. His interest for engineering and science, especially related to energy, started in high school where he took part in the Honor’s Mentor Connection program, and was teamed up with a scientist. He plans to pursue a career in the energy industry, hoping to continue his education and learning in engineering throughout his career.
He was diagnosed with hydrocephalus when he was six months old and has gone through 4 shunt revisions. Luckily, he has had the same shunt for 10 years now. Living with the challenges of hydrocephalus has given him compassion and empathy for those who are suffering, especially kids in physical pain.
He enjoys music and sports, especially baseball and jazz music. He started taking piano lessons when he was only four years old. In high school he joined the high school jazz band and later continued as the piano player in the Minnesota Youth Jazz Band. He is also interested in politics and has been involved in several clubs including Junior State of America, which meets to discuss global affairs.
James has participated in multiple events with the Hydrocephalus Association. “I’ve been to WALKs in both Chicago and Minneapolis, and also attended the National Conference in Washington, D.C./Bethesda, MD. For my 10th birthday, I didn’t accept gifts, but rather asked for donations to the Hydrocephalus Association. More recently, I organized a band and played for the Twin Cities Hydrocephalus Association WALK.”
“I have never allowed [hydrocephalus] to stop me from accomplishing my goals. Actually, I would say my diagnosis of hydrocephalus isn’t a curse; if anything, I would say it has been a blessing in disguise. I would say it has made me become a more academically disciplined person and helped steer me toward a profession I’ll enjoy.”
Daniel has just begun his studies at Saint Louis University, entering their Nuclear Medicine Technician Program, with a minor in Spanish. He hopes to study abroad in Spain for a year as part of his university experience. Later on, Daniel would like to continue his studies at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, studying pediatric anesthesiology. He aspires to work at the hospital where he was treated throughout his childhood.
Daniel was diagnosed with hydrocephalus when he was five weeks old and has to date had 52 shunt revisions. Reflecting on these hospitalizations, Daniel realized his interest in the medical field and the career path he would choose. His anesthesiologist significantly helped decrease his chronic pain and influenced his desire to help others.
Besides being an Eagle Scout he is also a part of the Rainbow Council’s National Youth Leadership Training staff, a national program of the Boy Scouts of America that teaches leadership skills to Boy Scouts and Venture Scouts. He loves being outdoors, as a lifeguard and lifeguard instructor at a local athletic club and at a local airport where he hopes to eventually earn his sport pilot license. He plans to continue to be an advocate for hydrocephalus; educating the public and participating in HA activities such as WALKs and Teens Take Charge.
When asked how hydrocephalus has impacted his life, Daniel responded, “I want people to see me for the person I am, the achievements I have made, and the hobbies I love, not the condition I have. I hope to do this by living life to the fullest, helping others, and not letting hydrocephalus hold me back. Though hydrocephalus has thrown many obstacles at me in my life, I have always been determined to not let it hold me back in living my life. In the future, I plan to use this same determination to achieve my goals and grasp my future.”