Compassion Came to Me:

Traci Smullen

By Traci Smullen

To live with and love a person who suffers from epilepsy and seizures is to learn about the disease in a, deep-in-the-soul kind of way.

Many people hear the words epilepsy and seizure, and because they haven’t had personal exposure to the disease, they are simply words.  For me, while I would not have wished these upon my beautiful stepdaughter, Kayla (now 22, a college graduate, starting her career, and thankfully, seizure free), it did offer me an opportunity to learn first-hand about epilepsy, and also to grow an appreciation and sincere empathy for all those who suffer from it.  My exposure to it handed me a path to compassion that I might not otherwise have known.

Life hands all of us great moments filled with happiness and fulfillment and also moments of heartache, despair and a true need for help.  It was in these latter moments, as we struggled to find answers for Kayla’s specific epilepsy issues, that a solid desire grew in me to help others find answers, too.  To help others deal with the impacts of living with the disease became a priority in my mind and heart.  An awareness of the true impact epilepsy can have on routine daily life … things we take for granted like driving, holding down a job, getting to a doctor appointment, and buying gas for a car, became increasingly clear to me as impossible for an epileptic person. 

It has been such a joy and honor to help those with epilepsy, through my involvement with JoshProvides.  To be a part of an organization that truly does help so many people with epilepsy and to be able to contribute to that effort has been extremely gratifying.  I see the ultimate good that has come from such a tragic day… the day Josh Chapnick was taken from this world.

His legacy is alive and well, and the awareness about the needs of epilepsy sufferers and the compassion so many have shown through their involvement with JoshProvides is remarkable and, thankfully, widespread throughout our community.