At five years old, Whitney Belvedere was diagnosed with absence seizures and had one hundred seizures daily. After a series of trials with various medications, educational training for her school, and support from the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern NY, Whitney is now an active fourteen-year-old who is ready to advocate for change.
Whitney does not let her diagnosis define her and has made it her goal to advocate for more individuals to get trained in seizure first aid. Whitney is a determined Capital Region teen who is ready to fight for change. Currently an 8th-grade middle school student, Whitney is an active part of her school’s community where she is an honors student, student-athlete, and a leader on her middle school student council. This past February, Whitney, Whitney’s father, and EFNENY’s Health Educator, Rachel Yattaw, headed to Washington, D.C. where they advocated for Epilepsy education. The trio attended conference sessions, where Whitney represented EFNENY while meeting other teens living with epilepsy. The group spent their trip learning about legislative priorities, meeting with members of Congress, attending fun and teen friendly theme nights, and most importantly of all, sharing Whitney’s story.
Whitney will continue to spread epilepsy awareness as she continues her year of service to further advocate through the end of 2023. During 2023, Whitney will collaborate with our local Epilepsy Foundation office and aims to ensure that all schools in NYS have Seizure First Aide Training. Whitney wishes to help New York State become first aid certified and stated, “I won’t stop until I can accomplish this.”
What Whitney Wishes Others to Know About Epilepsy: “Let’s use our brains to end Epilepsy!”