Volunteer Connects in a Special Way
Resiliency and determination are part of Jackie Quetti’s DNA. Jackie, a volunteer with Thrive Support & Advocacy’s youth programs was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of five. She kept her diagnosis to herself until, at age 17, a medication switch caused her to have her first tonic clonic seizure. This seizure was a life-changing event for Jackie. It pushed her to realize that she had to share her story with others and raise awareness about this condition.
Looking for a way to make her voice be heard, Jackie became involved with The Epilepsy Foundation. She organized local walk/runs to raise money, represented at two national conferences for the Foundation, and brought awareness to the needs of those with epilepsy on a state and national level. Jackie also brought her message to children with epilepsy by working at summer camps for children with the health condition. “I want kids to see that they are not alone; that whatever goals they set can be achieved if they set their mind to it, and that this condition should not limit them,” Jackie shared.
Setting goals is something Jackie has been doing since her teenage years. She found her love for running in high school and has since run four half marathons and one full marathon. She graduated college and recently decided to move out on her own, settling in Marlborough. After the move, Jackie was in search of a way to give back to her new community. She learned about Thrive and its mission through her sister.
When Jackie connected with Thrive’s Director of Youth Services, Caitlin Devaney-Fortwengler, she knew this was the place for her, and Caitlin felt the same. In addition to living with epilepsy, Jackie grew up with a learning disability. These experiences give Jackie a unique connection to Thrive’s youth participants. “I love seeing the happiness on the kids’ faces when they see each other and work together on projects. I feel like I can relate to them on a different level because we have been through many of the same experiences with our challenges,” Jackie added.
“I love working with kids and hope to make that my vocation someday,” she shared. “My family, faith, and love for running are what keep me grounded, and looking ahead, my future is bright,” she added. We are so thankful and honored to have Jackie Quetti as a part of Thrive Support & Advocacy’s youth team.