Coral Reef Senior High School sophomore Alexandra Markovich represented the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida and served as Florida’s ambassador during the annual Kids Speak Up! conference, Apr. 21-23, in Washington, DC.
Markovich, a member of Coral Reef’s legal magnet program, was one of 50 students from throughout the U.S. chosen to attend. She met with several of Florida’s congressional offices to advocate for better access to care, improved public education and more research to find a cure for epilepsy.
While in Washington, DC, Markovich was trained to become a national and local advocate on behalf of the nearly 3 million people in the U.S. with epilepsy. The threeday event included training sessions and seminars to help educate Markovich and the other participants about epilepsy and develop their public speaking skills.
One of her goals was to gain support for the reintroduction of Modernizing Our Drug and Diagnostics Evaluation and Regulatory Network Act (MODDERN Cures Act). This legislation is intended to encourage the development of meaningful treatments for people living with chronic disease and disabilities.
“I want to encourage anyone impacted by epilepsy in any way to join me in speaking out by asking their members of Congress to cosponsor this important act,” Markovich said. “There are 375,000 Floridians living with epilepsy. Together, if we speak up and speak out, we can make a positive difference.”
As Florida’s ambassador, Markovich has committed to volunteering as an active epilepsy advocate to help other kids and families understand epilepsy and advocating for policies that support people with epilepsy.
The Epilepsy Foundation of America sponsored the Kids Speak Up! conference. The national nonprofit partners with affiliates like the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida to lead the fight to stop seizures, find a cure and overcome the challenges created by epilepsy. The organizations’ goals are to ensure people who have seizures are able to participate in all life experiences; improve how people with epilepsy are perceived, accepted and valued in society, and promote research for a cure.
“We are most grateful for Alexandra’s advocacy on behalf of so many people and their families impacted by this disorder,” said Karen Basha Egozi, CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida. “Her trip to the Capitol came at a particularly auspicious time. The Institute of Medicine just released a report showing the broad reach of this condition, stating that 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy in their lifetime. Alexandra’s engagement, commitment and passion are making a difference.”
The Epilepsy Foundation of Florida provides numerous services to individuals and families, such as advocacy and counseling, education and prevention, direct medical and neuropsychological services, as well as research and other programs regardless of financial situation or socioeconomic status.
For more information, visit online at www.EpilepsyFLA.org