Those of you reading this from Hancock County may know a young man that Jennifer and I have had the pleasure of knowing for the past seven years or so in Joe Reeder. Joe is a high quality young man whose freshman year at Mississippi State was cut short by the recurrence of epilepsy. Joe tells his own story best:
I have epilepsy that started with a seizure when I was 12 years old on my way to school. They were focal seizures for a couple years. I had a two year gap, free from seizures from ages 14-16. However, as I grew older, my seizures got worse and worse. I started having seizures (grand mal) preceded by a few seconds of warning. But for the past year and a half, there have been no warnings.
With a broken shoulder from football and my worsening epilepsy, I dropped out of college and went back to living with my parents. I got surgery on one of my shoulders, and soon broke that shoulder again during a seizure, tearing ligaments in the other shoulder. I am not able to find work with my condition and cannot drive until I gain a half a year seizure-free. I received a surgical seizure implant (VNS) on September 10th this year and since then has been two months seizure-free.
I personally couldn’t imagine a worse fate for a 19 year old than being home bound instead of at college but that is Joe’s life right now. When he started his go fund me yesterday I heard about it quickly from my son who also knows Joe.
Service Dogs for epilepsy are not cheap and Joe is trying to raise $4,000 to get one. When I donate to such causes I always do so anonymously. Jennifer and I are in the list of Joe’s donors (anonymously for $100) and I would encourage everyone reading this to give what they can so Joe can regain a measure of independence and advance into life as a responsible, independent adult. Knowing this young man I’ll add this kind of investment will benefit society many times over down the road.