Last October, “06880” honored the work Emma Borys was doing with epilepsy. The Staples High School junior — diagnosed with the disease in 6th grade — is an outspoken advocate for research and education.
This spring, she was chosen as the Epilepsy Foundation of Connecticut‘s representative for a lobbying effort in Washington, DC.
Emma had been helped by trainers who spoke to her teachers about the myths and realities of epilepsy.
But many students don’t have that opportunity. The DC program brought teenagers to the Capitol, to urge their representatives to approve CDC funding for that educational program.
Emma joined one student from each state. They gathered in a large room, and shared personal stories. The goal was to help them become comfortable speaking the next day with legislators.
“I’d never really talked to another teenager about epilepsy,” Emma says. “It’s great to realize we have similar experiences and hardships.”
The next day, Emma met with her congressman, Jim Himes, as well as 2 other Connecticut representatives: Rosa DeLauro and John Larson. She also spoke with staffers from DeLauro and Joe Courtney’s offices.
Congressman Jim Himes and Emma Borys.
All were very receptive. The mother of a Himes staffer has epilepsy, Emma says, so he seemed particularly interested.
Emma felt empowered and energized by the lobbying day. But her advocacy is not over.
Last weekend, she participated in a fundraising march in Stamford. She was proud of her efforts — and wants “o6880” readers to know that donations can still be made through May 25. Just click here to help.