Tennis Teen Faces Challeges On and Off the Court
Teen recognized for National Epilepsy Awareness Month
Nov 11, 2008
David at the Jason Fleishman Summer Camp
Contact: Erin Manzanares
Tel. 303/377-9774 For Immediate Release
Tennis Teen faces Challenges On and Off the Court
Denver, CO--November 1, 2008--David, who's 18 years old, has already accomplished a lot of things. He’s competed regionally in tennis tournaments. He has been a junior camp counselor. He has spoken in front of hundreds of people at fundraising events.
But David is more than your average 18-year-old. He is special young man, who along with thousands of others in Colorado has epilepsy.
"Having epilepsy is kind of like having a nonstop roller coaster ride," said David. "You never know what's going to happen.”
David, who was diagnosed with epilepsy when he was an infant, is among 47,000 Coloradoans and 3 million Americans who live with some form of epilepsy, a brain disorder that causes recurring seizures, muscle spasms or, sometimes, a loss of consciousness.
David had brain surgery when he was 11 years old in an attempt to control his seizures. During surgery, David suffered a stroke and bled into his brain. He has since had to re-learn how to walk, sit-up and speak. During middle school, David was frequently bullied and taunted because of his misunderstood seizures. David and his family reached out to the Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado for help.
The Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado (EFCO) is the only statewide organization in Colorado dedicated to providing education, awareness and programs that help people with seizures live full, rewarding lives. EFCO was founded as a non-profit in 1964 by Dr. Harriet Hunter, whose grandchild was diagnosed with epilepsy. Working out of her basement, Dr. Hunter and a group of loyal, dedicated volunteers began providing education and training to the community. Today, EFCO serves more than 47,000 people in Colorado through support groups, summer camp, counseling and outreach.
David joined the Jason Fleischman Summer Camp in 2004, where kids ages 10-17 with epilepsy can meet and interact with kids just like them.
“Because of camp, I’ve learned to talk about my seizures instead of hiding them,” said David. “It’s great to finally meet people just like me and to know that it’s OK to talk about it.” Although David has had seizures since he was an infant, he had never seen a seizure before he attended camp.
“David doesn’t mind having epilepsy.” Says David’s mom, Mary Jensen, “He meets such great people in the community he wouldn’t have otherwise met.”
David is very active in the Denver area, volunteering at the Epilepsy Foundation and playing tennis with his school.
“The Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado has changed my life,” says David. “I have epilepsy and I’m proud to say it out loud.”
November is Epilepsy Awareness Month. Today, there is no cure for epilepsy, but there are medications, therapies and surgeries to help control seizures. Log on to www.epilepsycolorado.org to learn more.