Tampa teen and inventor Brittany VanHook wins national community service award

And that means Epilepsy Services Foundation gets $1,000 on Giving Tuesday.

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click to enlarge Brittany VanHook (R) with Tom Orth, Executive Director of the Epilepsy Services Foundation. - c/o TruStage
c/o TruStage
Brittany VanHook (R) with Tom Orth, Executive Director of the Epilepsy Services Foundation.

Thanksgiving with family is when you realize that the things you've accomplished in your adult life really don't stack up to the achievements of distant family members from the generation after yours.

That's at least how I'd feel if I was sitting at the table with Brittany VanHook. The 15-year-old Tampa resident has won a national competition that honored 20 young people who are dedicated to giving back to their communities.

In recognition of her efforts, TruStage insurance company will donate $1,000 to the Epilepsy Services Foundation in support of Giving Tuesday on November 27, 2018.

VanHook understands the specific needs of those with epilepsy since she also lives with the neurological disorder. She even invented an epilepsy blanket, complete with a built-in pillow and pockets for medications and a change of clothes. The blanket — which fits into a small backpack to make for an easy carry — helps kids with epilepsy feel less alone or embarrassed about using Distat Kits, an at-home medication that controls bouts of increased seizure activity or breakthrough seizures. Since the age of seven, VanHook has given out 15,000 epilepsy and regular blankets to children’s hospitals as well as homeless shelters.

In 2015, Brittany was awarded the Tampa Bay Lightning Community Hero for her blanket.

“It takes a special person to recognize at a young age that they have the power to make the world a better place,” Susan Sachatello, Senior Vice President, TruStage, said in a relase. “The Community Spark Awards allow us to shine a spotlight on inspiring young leaders such as Brittany, who is helping her community build a brighter future.”

About The Author

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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