Dakota Kellam was diagnosed with photosensitive epilepsy in 6th grade. In 8th grade, the diagnosis changed to juvenile myoclonic epilepsy. She went to the epilepsy monitoring unit in November 2017 and was officially diagnosed with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy with photosensitive tendencies and stress seizures. Middle school for her was very dreadful. She was not involved in any activities, and had distanced herself from everybody.
High school for her was also a very lifechanging experience until her mother showed her a Facebook group that connected many people living with the challenges of epilepsy. It changed her perspective on everything. She didn't realize so many people were going through the challenges of epilepsy just like her. She finally got back into education, extracurriculars, and volunteering. She also started socializing again.
Dakota found herself more involved in cheerleading and softball at Magna Vista High School. All her friends, coaches, and teammates are very supportive of her disorder and do not treat her any differently. She was junior varsity captain (2017) for cheer and is now a varsity cheerleader. Softball has been a part of her life since she was 3 years old. She was team captain in 2015 for Laurel Park Middle School and is now a leader for junior varsity softball at Magna Vista.
Every team or event she has been in, Dakota has shared her experiences with epilepsy. Dakota wants people to realize there is no reason to let a disorder or situation in life get you down. She never lets her disorder get in the way of getting through life. In her Facebook group, she always shows support and happiness to bring everyone together. She lets others know you must be positive to get through this disorder and never let it get you down.
Dakota was selected as an Athletes Vs Epilepsy Youth Ambassador in 2018. She is setting up meetings to establish events locally to raise awareness for epilepsy.
After graduation, Dakota wants to attend Coastal University in South Carolina and major in Neurology so she can share her experience with children just like her.