Charley & Peggy Roach Founders' Award & Eric Burton Osberg Award Honoree - Sarah Tefft, BSN, RN
This year we are once again combining the Medical Professional and Volunteer categories to honor an extraordinary young nurse in our community. Sarah Tefft is an epilepsy/ketogenic diet nurse at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and dedicated epilepsy champion.
Her introduction to the epilepsy community, and the EFEPA, began even before she became an epilepsy nurse. While studying at Gwynedd Mercy College, she babysat for a local family whose daughter has epilepsy. She remembers helping as the family prepared to host one of their first fundraisers for their Walk for Epilepsy team, Marching for Morgan.
Sarah became directly involved with the EFEPA when she was new to CHOP Neurology and spotted a flyer for Camp Achieve. The opportunity to volunteer at camp immediately sparked her interest. Sarah had volunteered at Camp Freedom, a camp for children living with diabetes, when she was in college. So, she sought out Sue Livingston, Camp Medical Coordinator. Sue was thrilled that she was interested in Camp Achieve and brought her on to the 2015 volunteer team.
Sarah shares this about her first year at Camp Achieve, "I went to camp knowing no one there except for Sue, but I immediately felt accepted by everyone. By the end of the week I realized that the EFEPA community is like no other I have ever experienced. Most people I had met had had a long standing relationship with the foundation and they continued to come back year after year to gather for time at camp. I knew I wanted to continue my involvement in everything I could from there on out."
Since then, Sarah has been actively involved with the EFEPA. From running on the Athletes vs Epilepsy team to speaking at our annual Epilepsy Education Exchange; from joining the Camp Achieve Medical Review Committee to providing leadership on the Young Professional Mardi Gras Committee, Sarah lives her passion for epilepsy advocacy and education.
Sarah's main interests in epilepsy are non-pharmacological treatments for intractable epilepsy, such as dietary therapies and neuro-stimulation devices. In September 2018, she officially became a ketogenic diet nurse at CHOP. This role includes actively presenting at monthly keto seminars for families interested in starting the diet, helping patients and families navigate starting the diet during hospital admission, and follow up visits as well as messages and calls in between appointments. In all she does, Sarah takes special aim to focus on family-centered care for epilepsy.
Sarah is currently enrolled at Thomas Jefferson University in the Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Program. She is expected to graduate in August 2019.
Outside of work and school, Sarah enjoys include time with family and friends, seeing live music and traveling to warm places when she can. She also has a very small antique nursing book collection, which she is always looking to expand!