My name is Alayna and I have Epilepsy.
My seizures started shortly after my 1st birthday. In a short time, I was having 25+ convulsive and likely 100+ non-convulsive seizures A DAY. My Epilepsy came on strong and my parents were desperate for answers, treatment and support. They realized resources for those with Epilepsy were very limited, especially resources for a child under the age of 2.
Finally, we were able to get an appointment with a specialist at St. Louis Children's Hospital. I went through lots of testing, was diagnosed, and started a treatment plan. Because I was so small, my treatment plan had to be cautious and anti-seizure medications had to be built up slowly. The medications have severe side effects, but I am so thankful we were able to find a medication that helped with my seizures. It took several years on the medication to finally gain control of my convulsive seizures and while my non-convulsive seizures are better controlled than they once were, we still deal with "breakthrough seizures" where my Epilepsy overcomes the medication. Overall, thanks to medications that work well for me, I am doing well.
My Epilepsy affects me in ways beyond having seizures. The first symptom discovered by my pediatrician at my 1 year check-up was sudden onset of Hypotonia, or low muscle tone. This is common for people with Epilepsy. Because my Epilepsy and Hypotonia presented at such an early age, it affected the development of my hips and I have a slight hip malformation as a result. The hip malformation affects my posture and my level of comfort and ability to move certain ways. I was delayed in learning to walk, because of what I was facing medically, but learned to do so with special custom supports on my feet and ankles. I participated in physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy for years. I also have a diagnosis of ADHD, which is quite common in kids with Epilepsy.
Despite the challenges that come with being Epileptic, I've never let it stop me! As soon as I was able, I had a strong desire to be active and to participate in sports. I love swimming, biking and playing soccer. I just love being physically active. For the last seven years, I have been active in Cheer and have competed as a U. S. All-Star Federation (USASF) cheerleader for 4 years. These opportunities have helped me push past some of the challenges that come with my Epilepsy and I've been able to accomplish some incredible things as an athlete.
Now, I am participating in the ATHLETES VS. EPILEPSY Summer Challenge. I'd love your support of my efforts in this program if you are able to make a donation. Even a small donation is much appreciated (every little bit helps). Thank you for supporting me as I overcome Epilepsy as an athlete!
Please support this cause by making a safe and secure donation to my fundraising webpage. Giving to the Epilepsy Foundation means you make the world a better, easier, more manageable place for the 3 million people in the U.S. who are living with epilepsy and seizures.
Thank you for your help and support