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Gemma, 13

....winning National Championships for Baton Twirling many times over, and twirling at national level for a number of associations. Gemma's mum, Vicki, said: Gemma has won numerous trophies, has visited Twirl Mania in Florida and performed at Disneyland Paris. Gemma is 13 and was first diagnosed aged 7, following a number of grand mal seizures. She also suffers from absence seizures and these in particular meant that her school work suffered massively, she went almost overnight from being top of the class to needing special measures and extra help as the seizures meant that she struggled with short term memory loss and missed most of her learning. From the ages of 7 to 9, her biggest accomplishments were being able to recall what had happended at the end of each school day, completing her homework or even managing to attend a full week at school without suffering an episode. We encouraged her to take up sports including baton twirling to boost her confidence which was at an all time low. She struggled at first and her twirling didn't come naturally but after 6 years training up to 10 hours per week, success was imminent. Gemma has been chosen for her schools "Gifted and Talented" programme for drama and art and is a very keen sports woman. She is in top classes for academic subjects at school and has been predicted high grades. She was an olympic flame nominee but unfortunately did not make the final cut. Although it took a number of years to control, her epilepsy is now fully controlled by medicine and we hope that she might grow out of it in time. but if not we know that epilepsy need not be a barrier to success or learning.

Gemma, 13
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