Teens Take Charge Program

For teens and young adults between the ages of 12 – 25

When you live with a chronic health condition, one of the ways to take care of yourself is to speak up, so you can get the care you need. Teens Take Charge (TTC) teaches teenagers and young adults who are affected by hydrocephalus to advocate for themselves specifically with health professionals and with their legislators.

Join Us: Be the Change!

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 to connect with others who share similar experiences. Join our growing community of teens and young adults who are making a difference. Join us on Instagram — find us at @teenstake_charge. 

Visit TTC’s blog and read stories written by your peers about their experiences. To submit a blog of your own, just email it to david@hydroassoc.org.

Check out HA’s Advocacy Tool Kit and learn how to be a hydrocephalus activist. Create and deliver effective and persuasive messages advocating for better treatment.

Meet the TTC Advisory Council!

These dedicated teenagers make up the Teens Take Charge Advisory Council. Follow them to read posts about the Advisory Council and our Teens Take Charge Program. These articulate, enthusiastic teenagers are taking a stand against hydrocephalus!


Fiona, Chair

My name is Fiona Wilcox, and I was diagnosed with hydrocephalus in utero. I am currently a freshman at the University of Oregon (the photo is of me and our mascot in statue form, outside the basketball arena), studying psychology. I plan to attend graduate school—MD, PhD, or both!—and work in the field of neuroscience. At school, I am involved in the AccessAbility Student Union and Relay for Life of the University of Oregon. When not studying, I enjoy watching Netflix, reading a book, or going for a walk around campus. I love dogs—my favorite one is our family’s Border Collie/Blue Heeler mix, named Thabo!

In working with Teens Take Charge, I hope to be able to get to know and support many young people with whom I share this condition.


Hello my name is Andie Oldham. I am from Andover Minnesota. I am a freshman at Andover High school.I enjoy baking, cooking, piano, volunteering and reading. I was diagnosed with Congenital Hydrocephalus at birth. My first shunt was put in three days later. I have had 7 shunt related surgeries. My last shunt was put in ten years ago! I joined TTC because I wanted to help raise awareness. Meet more peers my own age with my condition and help be a voice for others with Hydrocephalus


I’m Aparna Srinivasan and I am from Illinois. I am 15 years old and a sophomore at Hinsdale Central High School. I was diagnosed with hydrocephalus at six weeks of age. I had a VP shunt placed after a failed endoscopic third ventriculostomy, and I have had one shunt revision. I enjoy playing music on my flute, piano, and ukulele, and am a big fan of musical theater. I also love volunteering in school service projects and my local hospital. In the future I hope to pursue a career in medicine. I am excited to be a part of TTC, because I believe that raising awareness and connecting teens with hydrocephalus is so important.


My name is Tess Jacobsen and I’m currently attending the University of Oregon. I was diagnosed with hydrocephalus as the result of an intraventricular hemorrhage at birth. I have overcome seizure disorder and strabismus (a condition where both of my eyes can’t focus on the same thing at one time). I played on my high school varsity golf team and have participated in the San Francisco HA WALK since 2004. I’ve been active in scouting since grade school where I earned both the Girl Scout Bronze and Silver Awards. In addition, this past year I also earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor in the program. My Gold Award project, Stream to Advocacy, was built on my personal experiences with hydrocephalus, IEP’s and self-advocacy to develop a personal advocacy program for other teens with disabilities. Being a member of the Teens Take Charge Advisory Council is another way for me to help teens with hydrocephalus advocate for themselves.

Hi, my name is Sebastian Dittgen. I’m a high school senior with an interest in geography, computer science, and animals. I was diagnosed with hydrocephalus when I was 3 weeks old, and fortunately I’ve not had any complications since my VP shunt was inserted. I’m very active and enjoy baseball, skiing, and different water sports. As a member of the TTC Advisory council, I want to offer support to others affected by hydrocephalus, learn from their stories and give back to the community.




Hi! My name is Natalie Sticha. I’m from Prior Lake, Minnesota and am a senior at Prior Lake High School. I was born a preemie at 29 weeks, and was diagnosed with Hydrocephalus at 3 days old.  I’ve had 4 surgeries related to  Hydrocephalus, the last one being in July of 2016.  I am active with my church, many school activities, and a volunteer for Children’s Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota.  College is in my future and I will major in Child Psychology. I feel like I have a lot to contribute to TTC. I am very excited about the opportunity to help other teens. As we all know, life with hydrocephalus is not easy. My goal is to give teens confidence to be able to speak up and advocate for themselves.
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