Larissa Grammer was warming up moments before the first meet of her senior year as a diver at the University of Denver. But before she could climb the ladder, she was struck with a seizure. While Larissa had experienced the occasional seizure before—she was diagnosed with epilepsy at age 9—this one was different. This seizure was the start of half a dozen seizures a day for the next year that landed her in and out of the hospital (and off the diving team).
“My future spiraled out of control,” she said. “I didn’t think I’d ever dive again.”
But instead of spiraling out of control, Larissa’s future began to take shape. She was eventually given a nerve stimulator used to prevent seizures from occurring and has been active ever since: as a diver, advocate, and student at University College.
“When I took my season off of diving, I began looking into programs and found the Healthcare Management program,” she explained. “I realized what I wanted to be doing: patient advocacy.”
While a graduate student at University College, Larissa was able to re-join the University of Denver diving team—finishing out the final year she never started. Now a member of the Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado, Larissa is an advocate for people with epilepsy.
“I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for that diagnosis,” she said. “It’s definitely a struggle; there were and are times I hate it, but I can’t deny it’s a part of who I am and has helped me into the career path I want.”
Today, that career is at UW Health in Madison, Wisconsin where Larissa practices health education management in the technology department while continuing to pursue her master’s degree entirely online through University College.
“Looking back, it was all supposed to happen to make me realize what I was supposed to do with my life,” she said. “I want to inspire people to go to their full limits.”