On Christmas morning 2007 Shawn Baker remembers celebrating with his family, then waking up to family gathered around, sharing down at him, upset and worried. Nineteen-year old Shawn had just had his very first seizure. Following a trip to the emergency room and a second seizure later that day, he faced a diagnosis of epilepsy.
Like most people with epilepsy, Shawn and his family found the diagnosis to be both confusing and terrifying. With frequent trips to the emergency room to obtain medication, he continued to have about one seizure per week. Shawn was getting expensive epilepsy medication as he could afford and finally had to make the difficult choice of whether to purchase the medicine he so desperately needed for seizure control, or pay for college. Shawn was forced to drop out of school and began working wherever he could: construction, warehouse work, and fast food positions.
Having epilepsy changed everything for me, I had no money, inconsistent health care, and no hope,” Shawn shared. In 2011, following another ER visit, Shawn was referred to the Epilepsy Foundation Texas Clinic in Amarillo. Through the foundation, Shawn began receiving specialty neurological care, met with a caseworker, and signed up to receive medication assistance all at no cost. Today, Shawn has been seizure free for more than one year and optimistic about his future. Shawn is planning to go back to school to finish his degree in computer programming. He has been promoted to manager in his current job, which allows him to support himself and help out his family. Shawn explains, “The Epilepsy Foundation really helps people get their lives back to where they need to be. I am grateful that they were there to understand and help me get through it.