Robert was only 18-years-old when he passed away from epilepsy. I will never forget that early Thursday morning when I was awoken to the loud thumps of my brother hitting his wooden head board as he seized. I instantly rushed into his room only to find him unresponsive and gasping for air. He had several seizures as we waited for the paramedics to arrive. Since he continued to be unresponsive, the doctors had to sedate him and induce him into a coma in order to transfer him for a CT scan. I recall waiting with my parents in the ER room when a code blue was called from the same room that the test was taking place. I remember looking around in confusion as I thought it was impossible that they would be making such a call on my brother. I thought to myself not Robert. Reality struck as I witnessed the physician pumping his heart as they wheeled him out of the room and back into the ER. My greatest fear was happening. My brother was dying in front of our eyes. We were witnessing his death. Robert’s death introduced my family and I to the importance of living life to the fullest and cherishing loved ones every day. Our mother was battling cancer when my brother passed away. Never did she imagine that she would be the one to bury her child, her baby.
With the eagerness to help families just like ours, my cousins and I discovered the existence of the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida in Broward when we decided to donate toys to the children in their program that Christmas in Robert’s memory. Since December 2009, my family and I have been working with the organization throughout different initiatives, especially its annual Walk the Talk Fundraiser, where we have a team in his memory: Team R-Thrilla. We believe that if we can help children just like Robert, then we may help save the family from experiencing what we went through. We may not have known the organization when Robert was alive, but we hope to celebrate his life by helping others.