HEY TEENS: Get Involved, Meet New Friends and Raise Awareness
Several years ago, my mom randomly came across information about the South Florida Hydrocephalus Association WALK. So, we decided to go. I am so happy we went! This year I attended my fourth WALK, and they just keep getting better. Over the years, I have really gotten to know Eileen Rodger, one of the co-chairs for the WALK and a new member of the Hydrocephalus Association (HA) Board of Directors. Last year I decided to ask if she needed any help because I had gotten really involved with HA and Teens Take Charge (TTC) and I loved it. I knew that getting involved with HA locally would be a really awesome experience. I received a reply from Eileen saying that she would love to have some help. So now I am not only attending the WALK, but volunteering as well. She said that I could staff the HA Mission Table, which is the table that provides resources and information about living with hydrocephalus, the work of HA, and how people can get involved. I did notice one thing was missing from the table so, with the help of Eileen and my mom, we made a TTC information board to highlight this amazing program for teens, young adults, and their siblings. Unfortunately, the TTC board was ruined last year because it rained, but I was able to help make a new one this year when I had a break between the summer session of college and the Fall semester. It will be a permanent addition to the table so that teens, young adults, and their siblings know they have a place in HA where they can meet others and become advocates for themselves and for hydrocephalus.
I was worried that I would not be able to make it to this year’s WALK, as I attend a college several hours away. I would have been devastated if I couldn’t attend because I love the WALK. It is one of my most favorite events. Fortunately, though, I was able to get home to go. And I am so happy I could! I was not able to do as much fundraising as I did last year since I was away at school, but I was able to help by volunteering to send emails to the different teams. It was fun and I still got to feel like I was helping.
It was so awesome to be home for the WALK on a personal level, too. A few of my family members came out to support me, which was really nice. I also love meeting new people at the WALK and listening to their stories. No one’s is ever the same. It is because of the South Florida WALK that I have met people who have become like family to me. We have all been through the same scenarios where people just don’t understand our hydrocephalus. To me, the WALK is all about connecting with others who understand. We have that strong desire to make a difference, spread the word about hydrocephalus, and raise funds to improve research.
I am so proud to say that we are getting closer to that because this year’s South Florida Hydrocephalus Association WALK was a huge success!!! I am already looking forward to next year. And none of it would have been possible without the remarkable dedication of three amazing chairwomen. Eileen, Lisa, and Angelica, you are awesome! Thank you for all your hard work!
Teens, if there is a WALK in your area, I strongly recommend that you get involved with it, if possible! You will be glad you did. It is such a rewarding experience.