Hello. My name is Isabella Sementilli. I am 18 years old.
In 5th grade, a bully pulled out my chair as I went to sit down. I suffered a concussion, fractured tailbone, back and neck injuries. The effects of the concussion left me with NDPH and Occipital Neuralgia, rare and debilitating headache disorders… which are both invisible disabilities.
My life was changed forever.
Although I could no longer do things I love like tap dance and tennis, I knew I couldn’t just sit and do nothing. I started baking and created my own cookie, “Iznettes®.” I sell them at my dad’s restaurant. I became an advocate for anti-bullying and brain injury awareness organizations and donate proceeds from my cookie sales to support them. I know that I am strong with everything I have had to go through-which is why I started a Never Crumble!® line of t-shirts, sweatshirts, trucker hats and healing stone bracelets.
My dream was to be a Rockette-the actions of a bully changed my dream. But I wouldn’t let my injuries hold me back. I took my lemons… made some cookies and started my line-tough cookies~Never Crumble!®
I am a Youth Leader for the Brain Injury Association of NYS Advocacy Day and was Youth Honoree for March on for Brain Injury. I was honored to have been selected for the Brain Injury Association of America, annual campaign. I am an Albany Medical Center Miracle Child. I received the Ruth Bader Ginsberg Agent of Change Award from the New York State Minorities in Criminal Justice for promoting peace and non-violence. Cricket Media FACES Magazine, featured me in a story, “Kids Changing the World: Cookies for a Cause.” I received the Neil & Jane Golub Making A Difference Award from the Anti-Defamation League of NY/NJ. I was chosen as an Awardee from Creative Visions Foundation & Paul McCartney for the #WhoCaresIDo International Challenge for standing up to bullying. I received the Hearts and Heroes Award and the COVID-19 Acts of Kindness Heroes Award. I recently received the Literary Champion Award for turning a difficult, life changing event into a book that helps others deal with adversity.
Everyone faces obstacles. At an early age I learned to tackle my obstacles and turn them into positives. Learning to live with the debilitating effects from the concussion sent me on a mission. I learned many life-long lessons, making me one tough cookie.
I also wrote, illustrated, and self-published a picture book, titled The Short Story of One Tough Cookie: A True Story to show that we all can be strong- be that tough cookie- and Never Crumble!® … no matter what the obstacle is. I wrote my story so that what has happened to me doesn’t happen to anyone else. I want my message, “Be nice. Be kind. Share a smile,” to be the inspiration that gets someone through their tough time. I call it the Izzy Cure.