If I can describe my son, Vincent Solomon in one word it would be #mykidhero! I know every mom and dad feels that way about their child with epilepsy and they should because they teach us the true meaning of courage, perseverance and determination.
Vinny is diagnosed with frontal lobe partial complex seizure disorder, anxiety disorder, migraines, and neurological tics. He has grand mal seizures that last an average of 4 minutes. We are lucky as they are mostly controlled by medication. His first seizure was at 1 year old but diagnosed at 3. In April, he will be 17! He takes an average of 12 pills a day. Each medication has a side effect including, dizziness, sleepiness, weight gain and the list goes on. He struggles to have energy, stay awake, and feel well each day. We are lucky that as he got older, he was able to recognize the aura before a seizure and has about 30-45 seconds to tell someone. Most days he sleeps after school. His hands shake regularly and his tics are exemplified by his anxiety. Life is not easy for him and children like him.
What is amazing to his family is that despite his challenges, he still perseveres and is determined to be his best. Vinny does not let these diagnoses define him but allow him to be an advocate for them and children like himself. He has a positive spirit, is kind, loyal, and loving. He loves family, his animals and following the rules. He is an A/B Honor Roll Student and a member of the Navarre High School Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp as well as the newly formed HS Lacrosse Team. He learns ASL (American Sign Language) and hopes to be an interpreter someday. He is a voice for children and teens with epilepsy and is always willing to talk about it to others. God knew he would be an advocate and a gift to others by his example of courage and openness to speak out and spread his voice so that all he encounters will have the opportunity to learn about epilepsy and understand it much better because of him! He regularly wears his epilepsy awareness shirts and always has his Medic Alert Band on. He began educating his peers in 1st grade. His assignment was to teach his class about something he knows. He prepared a PowerPoint (with assistance from mom) and did an amazing job. He gave out epilepsy awareness bookmarks to all the kids and they took a quiz at the end on what to do if he had a seizure. This PowerPoint has been reviewed by his physician and has been given out to each teacher, school nurse and bus driver since! It has helped his teachers when he had seizures at school. They knew what information to give the paramedic! As he gets older, he advocates more for himself and is a great example to others. He has been challenged by kids who can be cruel, but stands his ground that his openness is not a crutch but a way to communicate so that people understand a little more about epilepsy and how to treat others. This year is especially challenging as he does not have his driver’s license yet. We are hopeful though. He has found some friends that understand his predicament and stepped up to help him. We need more kids to be empathetic and kind to each other no matter their challenge, background or situation and it is through education that we can improve that.
Vinny was so excited to form his first team at the very first walk three years ago, Vinny’s Vikings, but since changed the name to Vinny’s Voice for Epilepsy. He also wanted to be on social media so we created a FB Page and FB Group by the same name. We use the #mykidhero in all of our posts related to Vinny and his cause and his family supports him fiercely. Last year, he had students from his high school (Navarre High School) Student Government and NJROTC participate in the walk. The whole school got behind him. He has impacted the kids around him and is excited about an even bigger team and fundraising efforts this year. His team “Vinny’s Voice” speaks volumes for the young man he has become advocating for awareness in his fight and everyone’s fight against Epilepsy!