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Shared Stories

Stories of People Living with Epilepsy

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Parker Gills

Parker Gills

Two years ago, I was leaving the house to join my brother for morning kiteboarding. Unfortunately, I never made it. When my dad heard odd noises coming from downstairs and went to investigate, he found me convulsing on the floor. It was the first seizure of my life, a Tonic-Clonic, an experience which terrified my dad, and turned my world upside down, initially. When the doctors ran their exams and confirmed the epilepsy, my first reaction was to mourn the loss of so much, my life of spontaneity and adventure. Yet, in only two short years, my mindset around this disease has shifted. Things aren’t only fun because they are spontaneous; they are rewarding because I put effort into them, plan for them, and stay healthy in order to achieve the desired outcomes. In other words, since my diagnosis, I have found more purpose in my days. I pursue life, from academics to sports, with greater intention. More importantly, the vulnerability of this new reality has brought me closer with my family and friends, helping us all grow in new ways, with a greater awareness for each other’s health and support. Prior to my diagnosis, I felt tremendous love. Since then, though, I have gained a sense of empowerment and self-awareness that can only come from such a monumental change.

The strength and confidence I have found through my work as an ambassador, to raise awareness and educate the public about epilepsy and seizures, has added an additional element of greater purpose to my life. Working for something that is greater than myself, and which impacts so many individuals and families, has been one of many silver linings to come from these past two years. I believe in the power of community to create positive change. There has been no better illustration of this than the work done through the Epilepsy Foundation and all of its amazing people, with their unique stories of perseverance. We are all family and we can help each other live our best lives, together.