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West Seneca West High School honored for helping student with fibromyalgia

Friday September 5, 2014 | By:Kimberly Snickles, West Seneca Sun Editor | News
“She was just such a beautiful singer,” said Laura Taylor, mom.
That was until Emma’s life faced a huge change. The young lady was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a condition that brings widespread pain and tenderness throughout the entire body. Laura said her daughter tried to be strong, but found herself crying herself to sleep every night due to how much pain she was in.
“It’s hard being a teenager when your friends are all out doing things and you have this condition,” said Laura. “She had to stop playing bass and softball. She couldn’t even do her hair without causing herself pain.”
Going back to school was an even bigger worry for Emma. She wondered how her condition would fit into her education and if she could handle the new changes. Fortunately for her, West Seneca West High School already had it covered.
By filing a 504 plan, the school was able to provide Emma extra travel time to and from classes, separate lockers on both wings of the school, elevator access, access to salty snacks and water, and unlimited bathroom access. She was allowed to take tests in air conditioned zones to avoid passing out and the school accommodated her schedule to make sure that each class was as nearby for Emma as possible.
“All children deserve a pleasant school experience,” said Laura. “Knowing that someone cares about you and wants to help lets you feel like you are fighting this together.”
After many visits with the doctor and help from her school, Emma quickly got back into the swing of things. While she has good days and bad days, her mother said it’s Emma’s positive outlook on a negative situation that makes all of the difference.
“You have to live your life thinking it’s going to get better at some point,” said Laura.
Emma made a YouTube video expressing to others that living with fibromyalgia doesn’t have to be the end of the world. The video reached more than 20,000 views and was quickly noticed by the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA). The association was so impressed with Emma’s willpower and kind spirit that they asked her to become the Juvenile Fibromyalgia Spokesperson. Now Emma spends her time reaching out to others all over the world that are living with the same condition.
“It means so much to me and it’s good to know that I am getting my word out there in more ways than I already was,” said Emma. “My goal is to let others know that they are not alone. We will fight this together.”
But Emma never forgot those that helped her get to where she is now. After telling the NFA how accommodating West Seneca West was to her needs, the association presented Principle Jay Brinker and student service members with plaques on Friday for their outstanding efforts in helping Emma feel comfortable in school.

“It is important for schools to follow in West’s footsteps because many juveniles could be battling a chronic illness such as fibromyalgia,” said Laura. “We can’t thank West Seneca West enough.”