Michelle Ballasiotes, a 14-year-old Jay M. Robinson Middle student, was recently selected by the American Heart Association to attend a Town Hall Meeting at the State Health Directors Conference in Raleigh, hosted by U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin (at left).
The topic was keeping kids tobacco-free, and teens from North Carolina were invited to ask questions and provide insight into their experience in working to prevent their peers from using tobacco.
Michelle, the only teen from Charlotte, is very involved with the American Heart and American Stroke associations. I feel very honored to have been selected, said Michelle.
Michelle has a personal reason for wanting to help kids resist preventable health issues: She has struggled with the repercussions of a non-preventable ailment her entire life.
Due to a stroke that happened in the womb, Michelle has right-sided weakness and is missing a section of her brain. Thanks to many years of therapy, she has largely overcome her disadvantages and her goal is to create awareness that infants, children and the unborn can suffer strokes. She hopes awareness will lead to funding for research and treatment.