Jessica Waters of Beavercreek, Ohio started Cupcakes for Camp to raise funds for children with epilepsy to attend Camp Flame Catcher, organized by The Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Columbus and Cincinnati.
At age 11, Waters was diagnosed with epilepsy, a medical disorder that causes seizures. As a result, she had to limit her activities including her participation in contact sports, tumbling, and competitive cheerleading.
In 2009, Waters attended Camp Flame Catcher, a camp uniquely designed to provide children with epilepsy the typical camping experience that their peers enjoy with the added guidance of trained specialists to care for their specific needs. Upon her return, Waters remembers wishing every child with epilepsy had the opportunity to attend Camp Flame Catcher. However, she learned from her mother that the camp was expensive and had she not received a scholarship, she would have not been able to attend the camp.
Therefore, Waters started Cupcakes for Camp, and began collaborating with local bakeries to raise money to send kids to Camp Flame Catcher by selling donated cupcakes. Thus far, Waters has sent five children to camp, and she continues to raise funds to grant more children with the opportunity to attend camp next summer.
Additionally, Waters has become an ambassador for epilepsy awareness, helping to wipe out the stigmas and fears associated with epilepsy in her community while enlisting the help of local bakeries, students, and government officials. While raising funds for her cause, she has traveled to Washington D.C. to speak about epilepsy. Also, she works with local colleges including Dayton University, Wright State University, and Bowling Green University to help bring awareness and to teach first aid.
Since starting Cupcakes for Camp, Waters has received much recognition for her advocacy and fundraising efforts. She has received the Joan Schreck Inspiration Award from the Epilepsy Foundation Western Ohio and the Seize Hope Achievement Award from the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Cincinnati. She has been published in American Cheerleader Magazine and many girls and parents have reached out to her to tell her how she has changed their lives.