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College student helping others understand what it's like to live with epilepsy

 Local student is helping others understand what it's like to live with Epilepsy
Posted at 10:40 PM, Sep 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-22 12:52:12-04

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KOAA)-- Epilepsy affects 1 in 26 people in the United States, according to the Epilepsy Foundation.

"The fact that your neighbor could have it and you have no clue, I think it's our time to start talking about it so people don't feel so alone," said Marissa Cardenas, a senior at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.

She was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was 10 years old.

Cardenas says not many people understand the type of isolation and fear she once felt when trying to explain her disorder to her peers.

"It's this burden because you need to tell people for your own safety but you don't know how people will react either," she said.

It wasn't until she found the Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado and Wyoming that she felt understood, and led her to become an advocate for raising awareness.

"That's probably the thing that changed my life the most. It made me break out of my shell," she said.

Cardenas attended their camps where she would meet other kids like her.

Eleven years later, Cardenas leads the camps and has the opportunity to help kids who are fighting the same battle she once did.

"You may have to take it differently than how everyone else takes it, but in the long run you can do anything you will just have to alter it to your lifestyle," said Cardenas.

This story was first reported by Erin Chapman on KOAA.com.