Greetings! My name is Andre and I live in the wonderful city of New Orleans, Louisiana. From a very early age, I was always writing and involved in community service and volunteering in some way. I was an altar boy for a few years and I was in 4-H for much of junior high and high school. It wasn’t until I moved to Baton Rouge to continue my education that I really discovered the causes that were important to me and the kind of work I wanted to do in the community.
I first joined the LGBT student group on campus, which I also served as President for two years. This eventually connected me to the local LGBT community center and the local MCC church. From there, I served on various LGBT pride committees and helped organize various community causes and efforts. My biggest community service opportunity was when I volunteered at a major HIV leadership summit in May of 2007. It completely changed my perspective on how much one person can make a difference when I went from small city community work to connecting with people on a global level.
2007 was also the year I needed to restructure my life. I ended up moving back to New Orleans in the Summer of 2007 and essentially started over. I spent the first few years trying to replicate the life that I had in Baton Rouge. I eventually learned that with a larger city came more people, more diverse communities to support, and figuring out who I wanted to be in much larger crowds. Eventually, what made sense was to take a break from volunteering for a while and focus on work and writing. It was dull living for a few years but it was necessary.
In 2008, I joined a country dance group called the Big Easy Stompers but it wasn’t until about 2012 when I solidified my place with the group, being one of the leaders, line dance instructors, and DJ for the group. This was also around the time I found my place with MCC New Orleans, a sister church to the one I was with in Baton Rouge, and eventually landed the newly formed position of Administrative Assistant in 2014.
Epilepsy doesn’t hold me back anymore and making the decision to use the ketogenic diet to heal myself has become the driving force behind my larger goal of changing the lives of those around me for the better. My dream of educating, sharing my story and empowering individuals to not let their diagnoses define them is a reality for me. I thought the ketogenic diet was the end of my journey of healing but it has become my new beginning—a beginning that can, in time, allow me to become completely medication free and be able to help others find the success that I have.
It’s easy to succumb to the negative emotions, however, Tyquill decided to take his built-up energy and turn it into positive emotions. With these positive emotions, Tyquill found himself investing his time towards spreading positivity and creating art, his newfound passions. Tyquill found his passion for art and branched out into photography, graphic design, and even fashion design. Adapting to his new lifestyle, Tyquill adapted a new name, “Brannew”.
Tomorrow you could be gone. No mas. Finito. There’s no guarantee for tomorrow or the next day or the next. Just think about that for a bit… soak it in, let it seep deep down into your soul
My story comes with a lot of twists and turns. Ones that were extremely dark in the midst of unfolding. Fast forward a few months and I wouldn’t change those twists for anything. Why? Because they’ve made my story so much more meaningful and a hell of a lot more fruitful. Why keep your story to yourself?
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