FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month. Epilepsy is a brain condition causing seizures that an estimated one in 26 people will develop over their lifetime.
A Fresno ER nurse is sharing her son’s experience with a rare form of epilepsy that has rocked their world, but 3-year-old Everett is moving mountains.
“Everett was born in May of 2018, he was our first child,” said Sara Sherwood.
He was Sara and Brandon Sherwood’s little bundle of joy.
“He had an uneventful first 11 months of his life,” said Sherwood.
But then they noticed a slowdown. He was fussy, sleeping poorly and had strange behavior.
“It was dismissed, you are a first-time mom, don’t worry about it these are all normal things babies do,” Sherwood said.
It wasn’t until she captured the spasms on video that she convinced the doctor her motherly instincts were true.
“I’ll never forget it, we were sitting in the living room and he reached for a toy and he slumped over like his body gave out on him,” Sherwood recalled.
Everett was diagnosed with infantile epilepsy. A rare disorder causing spasms that can result in catastrophic, permanent damage to a child’s developing brain.
“All these hopes and dreams and plans you have for your child and your future family, it felt like it fell apart,” explained Sherwood.
After failed attempts at medication, Everett qualified for a hemispherectomy, a major brain surgery to stop the damage, but it left him paralyzed on one side of his body.
“People hear, ‘oh your child has half a brain, how is that even possible?’”
Everett is proof it is. He’s learned to walk. And hasn’t had a seizure since.
“Our big dream is that he will be able to talk. I’d love to hear him say mama, or I love you. Those are big dreams for us,” Sherwood said.
He communicates in his own unique way.
The family is now selling ‘Everett Strong’ shirts to help raise epilepsy awareness, and money to afford an intensive rehabilitation program in Los Angeles, where they hope Everett can further his brain development.
“He has taught me more about life and the fragility of life and I feel like if he can face the battles he faced then I can help him by staying positive for him,” said Sherwood.
Despite what his future holds, Sherwood embraces each milestone with her son.
“He is his own free-spirited child, he is very opinionated, but he is here with us, and I’m forever grateful for that,” Sherwood said.