Rachel is a 9th grader with a positive attitude who loves to be kind and be an encouragement to others. With her life’s story, it’s not difficult to see how she could be an inspiration!
At age 2, Rachel experienced multiple types of seizures and was diagnosed with epilepsy. She had lesions, cortical dysplasia, and Rasmussen's encephalitis all throughout the right half of her brain, and her seizures were uncontrolled with medication. When she was only 5 years old, she had the right half of her brain removed, called a right hemispherectomy, in order to control her seizures. The brain surgery resulted in having to learn how to hold her head up, sit up and walk all over again. Rachel is blind in the left half of both eyes and has no fine motor skills on her left side. Seven years after her first surgery, at age 12, Rachel developed hydrocephalus and her seizures returned. This led to a second brain surgery. During that same year, she also had major foot reconstruction and leg surgery.
“Rachel has had countless therapies over the years,” said her mom, Roxanne, “but she never gives up and is an inspiration to all!”
Despite all her challenges, Rachel enjoys many of the same activities any teenager would enjoy. She goes to school and participates in various after-school activities, including the school play and basketball cheerleading. Rachel loves reading books, writing stories, telling jokes, dancing, bowling, playing basketball, participating in 4-H, and showing animals at the Guthrie County Fair. She particularly enjoys teasing her three brothers and doing family activities.
Rachel’s diagnosis has had a big impact on her family. Her three brothers witnessed numerous seizures and spent countless hours in waiting rooms during therapy sessions and doctor’s appointments. Roxanne completely switched careers to help others with epilepsy access resources to live their best life possible.
“It has made our family stronger,” said Roxanne. “Each day is a gift, and we try to live it as such.”