Famous, Inspiring, Relentless, and They Have Epilepsy

Prince was an icon.

Fabulously funky style. Restlessly versatile.

He was a little genius that left behind a big legacy. Few may know that before he was partying like it’s 1999, he was born epileptic and had seizures throughout his childhood.

Actually, he’s not the only famous person to have had epilepsy.

Neil Young, Lil Wayne, Danny Glover Olympic athletes, Dai Greene, and Chanda Gunn, are only some of the legends that have epilepsy or have had it at some point throughout their lives.

Epilepsy is more common than we may think

It’s the fourth most common neurological disorder, and it’s been estimated that 1 in 26 people will have epilepsy at some time in their life.

The sheer talent of these legends alone is inspiring.

Knowing that they dealt with seizures while chasing their dreams, crossing boundaries, and accomplishing great feats makes them true markers of strength and determination.

How did they do it? What can we learn from them?

Dai Greene, Olympic athlete and Welsh hurdler, noticed that his seizures were often triggered by alcohol, stress and lack of sleep. He cut out alcohol, started eating healthier and made sure to get plenty of sleep. “I’ve learnt to be very cool and calm.” he reported to the Daily Mail.

Danny Glover, most notably known for his role in the Lethal Weapon series, has said that what helped him was becoming aware of the warning signs of seizures.

Five-time Grammy award-winning rapper, Lil Wayne, has had to cancel some shows after having a series of seizures, but wants to make it clear that epilepsy will not hold him back from his career plans. He’s currently taking medication to control his seizures.

Neil Young has accepted epilepsy as part of his life, but never had a seizure onstage. When he feels that one is about to happen he simply leaves the stage. This is what he said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine:

“Epilepsy is something nobody knows much about. It’s just part of me. Part of my head, part of what’s happening in there.”

Olympic bronze medalist for the U.S. women’s ice hockey team, Chanda Gunn was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 9. Yet, she didn’t sacrifice her passion even though hockey was considered dangerous for people with epilepsy. Instead, she learned to overcome her fear of the unknown. On the Epilepsy Foundation website she writes:

“I’ve learned to live with it, the fear of the unknown, because I want to really live life and for me that means playing ice hockey.”

Incredible people don’t have to be famous. Samantha, Megan, Samuel, among our other epilepsy heroes are also contagiously strong and inspiring.

Let these legends inspire you

We hope they do the same for you and encourage you to try those things you thought you couldn’t because of epilepsy.

Things that make you happy, make you laugh, and make you feel alive.

So that you find new fears to overcome, and new worlds to discover.

Empatica Team

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