Dear Editor:

Our son was diagnosed with a seizure disorder (epilepsy) at age 8. At that time, he was having Gran Mal seizures, more commonly recognized as convulsions. During one of these seizures, he actually stopped breathing, code blue. Thankfully, we were in the hospital and had the resources right there to save him. That was almost 12 years ago. After several medication trials, changes and adjustments, he no longer has Gran Mal seizures but still has several seizures during his daily activities. Unfortunately, people are not aware that seizures are not just convulsions and do not recognize it his as such. A seizure can be as small as a blink or a tic, so small that you may even miss it but may notice some “strange” behaviour after and just assume that this person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

During a seizure, our son will seem spaced out. He will remain standing and his right arm will move randomly, grabbing at his shirt or coat front. His mouth will be open but his breathing will be irregular and his eyes will appear empty or far away. He is able to hear you and even respond to your voice but his answer may seem unusual. If asked, “Hey, are you OK?” he may reply by saying “Purple” or getting a drink. When the seizure ends, he will cough and gag a little and occasionally vomit. The actual seizure lasts only 40 to 60 seconds. After the seizure, he has no recollection of the occurrence and has some short term memory loss. It will take five to 15 minutes for him to put his day and tasks back together and figure out where he left off.

This young man has dedicated every spare moment of his time to our community. If your charity, church, team or organization has ever asked for volunteers, he is there. He is currently going to NVIT, employed and still puts in two overnights at our local shelter. He is not standing in front of local establishments asking for change or stealing or vandalizing our community, yet he has faced discrimination from school, some employers and even our local RCMP. He does not want sympathy or assistance, just acceptance and to be able to go about his day with dignity and pride. I wish we could lock him safely away at home and protect him and never let him out but at 19, he is very independent and has worked very hard to support himself. He has earned the right to live his life without discrimination and proved his worth to society. We are very proud of our son, his achievements and every obstacle he has overcome to live a full and meaningful l life.

We ask our community support him as he supports his community. Please don’t judge our son by what you think a seizure should look like.

Jake and Deneen Grismer

Chris and Patti Grund

Grandma Sue Simon