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Abigail’s Journey: Bringing Awareness to Epilepsy

Cheerleading, like other sports, takes practice, passion and determination to be successful, and for Centennial High School Varsity cheerleader Abigail Fugina these qualities have helped her fulfill her goal of becoming a cheerleader.

Abigail, who was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of three, has always wanted to be a cheerleader and would not let epilepsy get in her way.

“She’s always had a really big heart and loved cheerleading since she was little,” Abigail’s mom Stephanie Fugina said. “We just kept putting her out there ‘go practice’ ‘go do privates’ and she did and it’s really about her heart, she’s that into [cheerleading].”

After multiple surgeries, doctors removed the focal point of her seizures. Despite the successful surgery, Abigail was unsure she would make the team.

“Honestly, I didn’t know if I was going to make Varsity, JV or freshman cheerleading. So, the biggest challenge has been learning how to do stuff,” Abigail said. “Some girls can do it once, but for me I have to practice it more and more.”

After meeting with Abigail, Varsity cheer coach Laura Severding knew she would succeed.

“Her mom told me about her condition and I said, ‘there’s nothing that is impossible for anyone to accomplish’,” Severding said. “The only thing Abigail needed was extra time to learn the extra routines.”

Abigail’s willpower and determination to cheer has inspired her teammates, family and coach.  

“Within the three years she’s been with us she has even surpassed a lot of the girls in jumps and in spirit by far than anyone I have seen before in my life. She has a passion and heart for cheering and that’s what I love about her,” Severding said. “To say she’s an underdog is by far not even true, she surpasses everything I have given her and I’m really proud of her.”

For Abigail, not letting anything hold her back has helped her get to where she is.

“Don’t give up, just overcome it,” Abigail said. “Just challenge yourself, never give up the goal you want even if it becomes harder or challenging.”

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