Lilian Flowers, daughter of T.J. & April Flowers of McAllen, was selected as a Teens Speak Up! National youth advocacy leader by the Epilepsy Foundation National Office in Landover, MD. Miss Flowers was selected to represent persons living with epilepsy in Texas and will be traveling to Washington, D.C., April 28-30, 2019 to tell lawmakers about her experiences of living with epilepsy.
Lily, her family, and advocates from the Epilepsy Foundation Central & South Texas are planning to meet with staff from Congressman Vincente Gonzalez (D-TX District 15) office as well as legislative aides from the offices of Senator Ted Cruz, and Senator John Cornyn. The message from youth is to continue funding for the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s Epilepsy Program which has helped to train school nurses, EMS, and law enforcement personnel. These trainings focus on appropriate measures to take when someone is having a seizure to prevent harm from improper care, as well as treatments, and psychosocial issues. CDC funding has helped to teach thousands of teens in high schools and middle schools across the nation about epilepsy, reducing stigma for teens living with epilepsy. In Texas approximately 1.8% of the population is affected by epilepsy.
Flowers, is one of two youths from Texas that will join others from across the country to participate in the Teens Speak Up! Program, a national program coordinated by the Epilepsy Foundation to rally young ambassadors with epilepsy to personally petition congressional leaders for aid in assuring better access to care, improved public education, and research towards a cure for epilepsy. “Lily was selected to represent over 500,000 Texans living with epilepsy, her impactful story will resonate on Capitol Hill. Teens are ideal candidates because of their impartial efforts to spread epilepsy awareness in their communities” said Kimberly Martin, Assistant Director for the Epilepsy Foundation Central & South Texas.
Lily was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 6. She is currently a 7th grader at Homer J. Morris Middle School where she participates in Theater and loves social studies. She enjoys camping, horseback riding, piano and baseball. She is honored to represent not only her community, but all youth living with epilepsy in Texas. Lily states “I hope that one day, there will be an end to epilepsy.”