The Power of Community to Create Positive Change

Parker is telling her story about how her epilepsy led her to make a positive impact
Parker Gills
Person with Epilepsy
Tuesday, December 21, 2021

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 seizure. It terrified my dad and turned my world upside down. When the doctors ran tests and confirmed that I had epilepsy, my first reaction was to mourn the loss of so much, including my life of spontaneity and adventure.

Yet, in only two short years, my mindset around this disease has shifted. Things aren’t only fun and rewarding because they are spontaneous; they are fun and rewarding because I put effort into them, plan for them, and stay healthy to achieve them.

In other words, since my diagnosis, I have found more purpose in my days.

From academics to sports, I pursue life with greater intention. More importantly, the vulnerability of this new reality has brought me closer to my family and friends. It has helped us all grow in new ways, with a greater awareness of each other’s health and need for support. Not only do I feel tremendous love, but 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 other people about epilepsy and seizures have added an additional element of greater purpose to my life. Working for something that is greater than me, and that impacts so many individuals and families, has been one of many silver linings to come from my epilepsy diagnosis.

I believe in the power of the community to create positive change. We all have unique stories of perseverance, and we are all a family that can help each other live our best lives together.

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Reviewed by: 
Sara Wyen

Our Mission

The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives.

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