Monday, May 5, 2014

Paint the Pony Purple!

About a month ago the Epilepsy Foundation of New Jersey held our 3rd annual Paint the Pony Purple event to raise money for Epilepsy awareness. This year was our biggest turn out, which was so awesome and super exciting. It was a public event at the local music bar where Bruce Springsteen started his musical career, how cool is that?! We had five different bands, food, drinks, and tons of purple!! It was so cool to see such a large amount of support and enthusiasm all in one place, and even better seeing people enjoying themselves for such a great cause.

Personally this day had a very special effect on me. I have been a member of the New Jersey affiliate for about five years now. My favorite part of this foundation is the mentoring program that led me to the organization and inspired me to become a member. When I was first diagnosed with Epilepsy I was so tired of talking to doctors and professionals about it. I felt like I could spit out every fact and statistic about Epilepsy and all I wanted to do was talk to somebody who knew what I was feeling and could support me as a peer, simply because I needed a friend and not a professional. Nicole, a member of the national foundation, was my mentor and completely changed my life when I met her. She still may not know it, but her informal support and sincerity changed my view on Epilepsy and helped me to discover that what I was going through was okay and, above all else, that I was not alone. Since I have joined the foundation I have been a mentor and have been mentoring a specific peer for four years. We have talked via e-mail and
telephone throughout the years and have made a true connection, but have never actually met in person. At the event I finally got to meet her and her entire family. It was wonderful. The bond that we created behind the computer and phone became so much stronger when we met face to face. Meeting each other was extremely powerful. She expressed her appreciation for being mentored and inquired about joining the foundation and becoming a mentor herself. Hopefully this trickling effect will continue and spread for years down the road.

At our 3rd annual event I happened to meet two different girls around my age who wanted to exchange stories. After talking for a bit I ended up leaving with two more mentees. We have been talking for the past month and I am so excited experience a new and different journey with both of them… and the coolest part is that I already met them face to face, which has made me so anxious to see how both of my relationships will unfold and grow in the upcoming months.