The 2017 Teens Speak UP! Connecticut Representative
Connecticut Teen Advocates for Epilepsy in
Washington, D.C. –Annika Soderberg of Canton, CT traveled to Washington D.C. this weekend to advocate for epilepsy issues on Capitol Hill. Annika’s trip was organized as part of the Epilepsy Foundation’s Teens Speak Up! conference, which brought 47 teenagers with epilepsy from across the country to Washington for advocacy training and meetings with their members of Congress.
“We’re proud to have Annika represent the 60,000 people in Connecticut with epilepsy,” said Linda Wallace, Executive Director, Epilepsy Foundation of Connecticut. “She was a terrific advocate -- articulately explaining her epilepsy story, and sharing why our key priorities are important to her and her family. We’re lucky to have talented young advocates like Annika fighting for our community.”
Annika had the opportunity to meet with staffers from the offices of Senator Chris Murphy, Senator Richard Blumenthal, Representative Elizabeth Esty and Representative Rosa DeLauro. During the meetings, she and her family discussed funding for epilepsy programs and research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as protecting access to affordable healthcare and lifting federal barriers to cannabis research.
After returning home, Annika will embark on a year of epilepsy advocacy in her hometown, where she is a senior at Canton High School. She hopes to raise awareness about epilepsy, and raise money towards research for epilepsy treatments and a cure.
What is Teens Speak UP!
Teens Speak UP! is an amazing opportunity for 1 Connecticut teen, between the ages of 13 – 17 who has epilepsy, to tak a trip to Washington DC. There he/she will meet their elected officials to discuss epilepsy issues such as the need for public awareness, acceptance and the search for a cure. This is a unique opportunity to draw lawmakers attention to epilepsy and increase public awareness of its challenges. Candidates selected will also be expected to participate in a "Year of Service".
Applications for 2018 Teen Speak UP! Program will be available in November 2017.