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Martha Curtis  

Concert Violinist with Epilepsy, "Born to Thrive"

Martha Curtis is a concert violinist with an amazing story demonstrating the power of music and the determination of the human spirit.

At age three, Curtis started convulsing and was diagnosed with epilepsy. Within a year and a half, her mother had her playing the piano and dancing. This early arts training helped build cognitive and physical skills that allowed Curtis access to her expressive self. However, the seizures continued with increasing intensity and rapidity. Despite this seizure activity and the high levels of anticonvulsant drugs, she graduated Salutatorian from the Interlochen Arts Academy and with honors from the Eastman School of Music.

Curtis continued her battle with epilepsy both on and off stage for many years until a team of doctors at the Cleveland Clinic removed the damaged sections of her right brain to stop the neurological storms. Her decision to undergo brain surgery and remove a portion of her temporal lobe was one of great courage and great risk.

Today, Curtis is seizure-free, and her ability to perform and memorize difficult pieces of music is greater than before the operations. Her success story has single-handedly changed preconceived theories about brain and memory function. She has now performed throughout the United States and abroad to audiences of all ages. Crediting music with saving her life and allowing her to experience beauty, Curtis firmly attests that "I am alive today because I had a violin." Using a combination of words and music, she communicates her story of courage, determination, and passion for life, and her belief that everyone needs to touch beauty.

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