One night, at the age of 5, Natalie Beavers ran a high fever that resulted in seizures. Her parents rushed her to the hospital, where doctors found a scar on the left side of her brain about the size of a dime. She was diagnosed with epilepsy and has been actively fighting to live to her fullest potential ever since. Drawing on the power of the epilepsy community, she created a non-profit organization called Angels of Epilepsy©️ to give back.

Early in the Journey

Before entering high school, Natalie’s seizures had become few and far between. Throughout high school, she never had a seizure. Her doctors finally declared her seizure free. With the guidance of her doctors, Natalie weaned off her medication.

It was not until her second year of college that her seizures returned “with a vengeance.”

The scar tissue had spread across her left temporal lobe and doctors found a cyst on the back of her brain. She underwent a craniotomy to pinpoint the location where her seizures were forming. After finding the source of her seizures, Natalie’s doctors removed the damaged tissue from her left temporal lobe. They left the cyst alone, because removal from its exact location could possibly result in paralysis.

Since her second surgery, she has had decreased seizure activity. They still occur from time to time due to the remaining cyst.

Providing Support to Families

During Natalie’s time in the Emory University Hospital Epilepsy Center, she and her family met other people living with epilepsy and heard similar stories.

I told my father, I really, truly want to help these people who are just like me, Natalie said.

She believed the community needed a support group that felt like a personal family.

Angels of Epilepsy (AoE) was created in 2008 outside of Atlanta, GA, to support and become family to those affected by epilepsy in Georgia and other states. AoE supplies people living with epilepsy with gifts and necessities needed while undergoing surgery or testing. They also provide resources to families who are staying with their loved one during their hospitalization.

According to Natalie, caregivers are often shuffled out into the waiting rooms to sleep, and deal with parking and food expenses. AoE assists these families who experience hardship during the time of a loved one’s surgery or hospitalization through payment of hotel expenses, parking fees, or gift cards for food accommodations.

Epilepsy Awareness in Minority Communities

AoE also brings awareness, educational materials, and first aid tips to schools, churches, and businesses. Seminars and workshops are held throughout the year to bring epilepsy awareness and resources to the public.

Anyone, at any age, at any time can be diagnosed with epilepsy, Natalie said.

AoE actively reaches out to minorities in Georgia and provides assistance after seeing a spike in diagnoses for African Americans. In one phone call AoE received, an African American woman stated the she did not know that African Americans could be diagnosed with epilepsy. And in another phone call from a Hispanic American family, the family did not know epilepsy existed and wondered if it was a curse. AoE hopes to reach out to minority communities to bring awareness and break the misperceptions surrounding epilepsy. They also launched their "i Am ME" campaign to help give people living with epilepsy the opportunity to talk about life with epilepsy.

In 2018, Natalie and AoE received 3 awards in recognition of dedication and positive impact through service. AoE has traveled to many states to advocate for and support the many lives affected by epilepsy. They even appeared on the TV show Divorce Court to help provide information about epilepsy. Natalie also spoke recently at the Epilepsy Foundation’s 2019 Skill Building Institute.

Angels of Epilepsy Biography

Angels of Epilepsy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity and advocacy organization outside of Atlanta, Georgia. This charity was founded in 2008 by survivor and advocate, Natalie Y. Beavers. They provide assistance for survivors and families battling with epilepsy and brain disorders. Angels of Epilepsy supports, advocates for, and empowers many around the world living with epilepsy.

Learn about Epilepsy and Special Populations

Authored By: 
Sarah Kaider
H
Authored Date: 
05/2019
Reviewed By: 
Liz Dueweke MPH
on: 
Monday, May 6, 2019