Elizabeth Koller is all of 10, but she’s already a published author with a website and soon a nonprofit.
Her inspiration is her brother, Anthony, 9, who has autism and epilepsy.
Elizabeth, her brother and parents, Keith Florian and Mary Koller, live in the Hampshires community off Faith Road in Mooresville with their four pets, rescue cats Winer and Feisty, Pomeranian Isis and rescue sheepdog-mix Furball.
The family moved to Mooresville from Michigan Nov. 1 based on their Internet search of places with a good supply of pediatric neurologists.
Anthony needs immediate medical attention for seizures. Where the family lived in western Michigan, such doctors were in such short supply that Anthony would have to wait three to six weeks for his doctor to see him, Keith Florian said.
“I can call his doctor here (Dr. Craig DuBois) and tell him Anthony’s not acting right, and he’ll say, ‘Oh, we’ll see him as soon as you can get here,’ ” Keith Florian said. Florian, 39, is an account manager for Thompson Industrial Services at Duke Energy’s Marshall Steam Station in Terrell.
Elizabeth, a fifth-grader at Coddle Creek Elementary School, established NotBadMisunderstood.org when she was 9 with the help of her grandmother. Anthony is in second grade at the school.
Her message behind the website’s name: Children who have autism and epilepsy aren’t bad because they might misbehave in public.
“Some people say, ‘Your kids are so bad. Why do you let your kids do this?’ ” Elizabeth said during an interview at her home April 18. “They’re just misunderstood, really.”
Elizabeth, who wants to be a brain surgeon, said she hopes her website educates people. She included links to her favorite sites, Autismspeaks.org, Epilepsy.com, the mind stimulator site Edheads.org and Multiplication.com. She has a link to Anthony’s favorite site, nick.com/games, where he loves visiting pal SpongeBob.
Her website accepts donations to help people who have autism and epilepsy pay for medications not covered by insurance and other medical needs. On the website, she also sells silicon bracelets and leather bracelets that she hand stains and hand stamps with the word “Autism.”
She published an 80-page paperback, “Invisible,” April 12 through AuthorHouseIt is available at Authorhouse.com, Amazon.com and other sites. It retails for $12.95; the eBook is $3.99. She gives a quarter of her royalties to help people who have autism and a quarter to help those with epilepsy.
Elizabeth said the book grew out of her diaries and journals about being the sibling of someone who has epilepsy and autism. She relates how it made her feel invisible, opening her heart to share her feelings. The book is for adults and children who have autism and epilepsy, their caregivers and anyone who’d like to become more informed about the conditions, she said.
“This girl has done more at 10 than I could ever have thought of doing,” Florian said.
“She’s accomplished more in her 10 years of life than most people do over their entire lives,” her mother Mary Koller, 30, said.
On April 18, a bouquet of flowers arrived at the home with a balloon saying, “Congratulations.”
It was from Debbie Fouts, Elizabeth’s grandmother.
“Miss Elizabeth, you are a very special young lady and so very giving of yourself,” Fouts’ message read. “I am very proud of you and your achievement. You name is now Elizabeth Koller, Author. I love you dearly, Grandma.”
Marusak: 704-987-3670; Twitter: @jmarusak
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