He also competes as a high school athlete in football, wrestling and baseball. During his free time, Affelt is an avid water skier, kayaker, and snowboarder.
Affelt’s application essay illustrates the impact of ET on his life. He writes, “It does affect the way I compete in sports, write in school, speak in front of a crowd, and even complete everyday tasks like using utensils at the dinner table. Tremor may not shorten my life, but it causes monotonous tasks to become difficult and frustrating. Since being diagnosed, I have learned that through perseverance and especially patience, I am able to overcome the setbacks that constant hand shaking involves.”
This young student-athlete worked hard to win his football coach’s confidence and earn a starting spot on the team. “Tremor makes each effort on the field much more difficult, but I can accredit my can-do attitude to adapting to tremors,” Affelt writes. “I fought through my unsteadiness to achieve my goal of becoming a starter and to prove to myself that tremors won’t get in the way of my success.”
His outlook on life with ET is not only mature and confident, but also inspiring. “I have taught my body to become used to the constant shaking of my hands; it has become as much a part of me as my own name. In my heart of hearts I believe that essential tremor has given me an advantage over most people. Having it has taught me to become disciplined, patient and determined. I never take no for an answer, and I have a never-say-die attitude. I carry these attributes with me throughout every aspect of my life, and it has made me a stronger, more complete person.”