Family of Three-Year-Old with Epilepsy Finds Relief at Sharon’s Ride
By María José Durán
SAN DIEGO – Micah lived his first thirteen months just like any other child. He could crawl, stand, walk, feed himself and sit up. That changed April 23, 2013, when he had his first seizure.
Kat and Josh Sievert, Micah’s parents, endured those uncertain first days with their child suffering constant seizures, unable to help. “They told me by Wednesday he would be able to sit up and he wasn’t. And they told us by Friday he would be running around back to his normal self, and that wasn’t happening”, Kat said.
Micah was diagnosed with epilepsy, and within a week he regressed to the developmental level of a four-month-old. Today, he is three and a half and almost back to the average abilities of a child his age. He and his family are still fighting.
“As a mom I always fear if he’s still alive and still ok,” Kat said.
The seizures that Micah has are difficult to recognize. Complex partial seizures, unlike convulsive seizures, are less active and present different symptoms. In Micah’s case, he jerks his head, turns it to the left and gazes off.
“It’s very difficult because if you’re not watching him and don’t know the signs you can miss them because they’re so short and he doesn’t fall to the ground and have a seizure as we typically understand them,” Kat said. “He needs constant attention.”
One in 26 people in the United States has epilepsy. The condition is more common than most people think and it could happen to anyone at any stage of their life. Stigma and fear still surround this very common disorder.
“We have met a lot of people who said, ‘I had it’, or ‘my grandson outgrew it’, people that you’d never expect but their kid has epilepsy”, Kat explained. These people are able to connect at Sharon’s Ride.
One in three epilepsy diagnoses can be controlled with medication, healthy lifestyle modifications and diet. But the remaining two thirds still struggle with unexplained diagnosis. Additional research is needed to find relief and solutions for those still suffering.
Kat and her family find comfort in the annual Sharon’s Ride.Run.Walk for Epilepsy, an event that has supported the community every spring in San Diego for the past 21 years. Team Micah raises important funds so the Epilepsy Foundation of San Diego County can continue to offer free programs and services to people with seizure disorders. At the same time, Micah’s family can blend in with the community of over 4,000 people with a connection to epilepsy who rally together for the event. They are reminded they’re not alone.
Sharon’s Ride provided the Seiverts with a sense of community, giving them encouragement and renewed strength to continue the fight against epilepsy. “Nobody has gone to Sharon’s Walk and thought, ‘No, that wasn’t worth it.’ Everyone has seen something empowering, or met somebody and been inspired by their story,” explains Kat.
Micah loves going to preschool. He enjoys interacting with other people. Thanks to medication and the support of family, community and doctors, he’s nearly back to the developmental level of any other child his age.
Join Micah and his family in supporting Sharon’s Ride and start a team, join a team or donate. You can make a difference!