Jolee’s Embrace story - A high school athlete who plays strong despite epilepsy
November was Epilepsy Awareness Month, and at Empatica, we focused on showing appreciation for all the caregivers of Epilepsy Warriors for all they do. And for good reasons, too.
Meet Jolee, a 15-year old sophomore in high school, who enjoys living independently and has big dreams despite her epilepsy. Her family rallied around to help her get an Embrace Watch after she had a major seizure in the middle of a busy intersection. Jo and her mom, Leslie, tell us how Embrace has helped them all, and more importantly for Jolee, how it has helped her to live normally as a teenager.
Jolee (or Jo) is 15 years old. She is a sweet girl who loves writing, friends, and playing softball. She also enjoys being around family at special gatherings and quiet places. Jolee had her first seizure in 7th grade and then went over a year without having one. We thought we were in the clear until she started having them more frequently. She has several kinds of seizures, but her tonic-clonic seizures are the most severe and scary (and this is what her Embrace detects). Jo puts it this way: “My story starts in middle school when I was diagnosed. The medication I was put on changed my body and my routine. I was tired all the time, and I had a rough time adjusting to it all. With time, it got easier.”
It was difficult to adjust but the whole family has helped to support Jolee.
For Leslie, the biggest changes have been adjusting to the medications and the loss of freedom. As parents, we just want to keep her safe, but she has to live her life: doesn’t every teenager want that? Our family of aunts, uncles, grandparents, brothers, and sisters has helped and continues to help support Jolee. We collectively purchased the Embrace watch after she had a major seizure in the middle of a busy intersection. If it wasn’t for the quick thinking of a teacher and help from a kind stranger, she could have been run over.
Embrace has been a game-changer
Her Embrace at least gives us all the peace of mind that we will be notified of a seizure, know where she is, and that we can get her help. It is a total game-changer for us; it allows her to have some freedom and space to live her life. Her softball coaches get notifications too, which allows her to travel with her team to play the sport she loves.
Jolee, who loves to read, write, and listen to music says that she loves how her Embrace sends her location to her parents if she’s having a seizure. “It makes me feel a lot safer since I’m a high school athlete, and I regularly travel a long way from home to play. I don’t like to be without it at all, as it helps lessen my anxiety and stress.”
Night-time seizures have been our biggest fear, but Embrace helps us sleep better.
The device gives us the comfort to sleep at night, knowing that her device and our phones will wake us up if she has a big seizure. I can’t recommend the Embrace enough; if you’re a parent thinking about it, do it. The peace of mind alone is worth it. If you’re struggling with the price, please contact an Epilepsy Foundation or other charities for assistance.
Jolee has an amazing future ahead of her: she has many passions and wants to be a firefighter or a writer after attending university. Leslie says, “We will continue to fight for seizure control and the search for a cure. We are Epilepsy Warriors!”