MAPLE GROVE, Minn., March 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc. (Upsher-Smith), in partnership with the Epilepsy Foundation of New Jersey (EFNJ), today announced that the Leaf family from Washington Township, New Jersey was awarded sponsorship to attend the Epilepsy Foundation's National Walk for Epilepsy® in Washington, D.C. on March 22, 2014.
Morgan Leaf, a high school senior, was diagnosed two years ago with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy after suffering two seizures. At first discouraged by the impact her condition might have on her future, Morgan has overcome many challenges to remain an active teenager. This fall she will head to college with the aid of a scholarship for the new NCAA sport of acrobatics and tumbling, known as acrotumble, which is a combination of gymnastics and cheering.
"Morgan hasn't really met anyone with her disorder," says her mother, Denise, adding that though the two have been to Washington, D.C. quite a bit, this was their first time attending the National Walk for Epilepsy. "We were excited to meet other people, and are so thankful to Upsher-Smith and the Epilepsy Foundation of New Jersey for the opportunity."
About the Leaf Family
Morgan Leaf and her family live in Washington Township, New Jersey, where she attends Our Lady of Mercy Academy. An avid cheerleader, Morgan keeps busy on cheering squads for her all-girls Catholic high school, as well as for her brother's all-boys Catholic school. She also competes with a local all-star team, Jersey Pride.
When Morgan was first diagnosed as a sophomore in high school, she wasn't sure if her active lifestyle would still be possible.
"We had to make some immediate changes," says her mother. "The first was no more sleepovers. We live near the beach and Morgan was always having friends stay over, but her neurologist thought fatigue might be a contributing factor for her seizures."
The changes hit Morgan hard. Denise says her daughter worried about whether she would ever be able to cheer, to get her driver's license, or even to have children someday.
"As a cheerleader, she was a flier, so that had to stop since there was too big a risk she could fall and hit her head. She cheered from the sidelines for six months, and then was cleared to tumble, but not fly."
Today, Morgan leads what her mother calls a typical teenage life. She has also taken it upon herself to educate others about epilepsy. Last November, she organized a bracelet sale and purple dress down day at her school. Through selling purple bracelets - each of which came with a printed epilepsy fact - she was able to raise $1,000 for the Epilepsy Foundation of New Jersey. The dress down day was an especially fun treat, given that she and her classmates wear uniforms throughout the school year.
"It was fun to see all of my friends participating," she says.
Morgan is also back to being fully active in her cheer squads, and has been accepted to Alderson and Broaddus College in West Virginia on a scholarship for acrotumble, a new NCAA sport which combines gymnastics and cheering. She says she is excited to head to her new school in the fall.
"I went to a recruiting weekend in September, and the bonding was great. I'm looking forward to meeting new friends and doing this sport with them," she says.
Though her mother was initially less excited to see her daughter choose a school so far from home, she now thinks it will be perfect.
"It's a small college, only 900 students," she says. "In addition to her seizure disorder, Morgan also has ADHD and learning disabilities, so this will offer a great support system for her."
Looking back and looking forward, Morgan says she is proud of what she sees.
"I've learned that you have to strive for what you want. I've worked hard, and it shows," she says. "It's amazing to see how far I've come physically and mentally."
About the National Walk for Epilepsy®
The National Walk for Epilepsy® is a family oriented, noncompetitive walk in our nation's capital to raise awareness and funds to continue the fight to stop seizures, find a cure and overcome the challenges created by epilepsy through efforts including education, advocacy and research to accelerate ideas into therapies. The Walk helps to support new and innovative epilepsy therapies and research, develop programs to educate the community, including school nurses, and first responders and to support advocacy efforts against epilepsy-related discrimination and national healthcare reform.
This year marks the eighth anniversary of the National Walk for Epilepsy in Washington, D.C. Each year, more than 5,000 people participate in the Walk in support of over two million Americans who live with epilepsy every day as well as their friends and loved ones. For more information on the National Walk for Epilepsy®, visit: www.walkforepilepsy.org.
About The Epilepsy Foundation of New Jersey
The Epilepsy Foundation of New Jersey (EFNJ), an affiliate of the National Epilepsy Foundation, provides programs for families living with epilepsy such as a residential summer camp, support groups, scholarships, referral programs and respite care. EFNJ also institutes free educational presentations about seizure first aid and police training. Those interested in any of its programs may contact Jenna Andolora at 1-800-336-5843 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more, please visit: www.efnj.com.
Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc., founded in 1919, is a growing pharmaceutical company dedicated to its mission of Advancing Pharmacotherapy. Improving Life™. With capabilities ranging from early-stage research to delivering on-market products, Upsher-Smith is committed to offering quality products that enable people to live life to its greatest potential. Upsher-Smith's approach to product development and partnering has resulted in a broad range of both branded and generic therapeutic solutions to address patients' needs. The Company has a particular focus on developing therapies for people living with central nervous system (CNS) conditions, such as seizure disorders, and has a robust pipeline of promising CNS compounds in various stages of development. For more information, visit www.upsher-smith.com.
SOURCE Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc.