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Brett's Epilepsy Story

Brett, 25, has been living with epilepsy since he was born, after a difficult birth in which his Mum was whisked away for an emergency delivery. With support and understanding, Brett has built a busy and rewarding life, proving living well with epilepsy can be possible.

Early Challenges

Brett says he experienced frequently tonic-clonic seizures in his early years, which his Mum and sister found scary to witness when he was so small. He takes two different anti-seizure medications and said it took some time and adjustment to get the dosage right.

He experienced his last tonic-clonic seizure at 12 years old at his Auntie’s place when his Mum was away on a retreat. Whilst his Auntie was a bit panicked initially, Brett got through it and recovered without needing medical intervention. 

Brett continues to experience focal seizures, which he describes as “staring into space, going blank.”

He describes some of his frustrations with people’s misperception of epilepsy: “People think they are protecting you, but this means you don’t get the same opportunity for growth. You mention epilepsy and people run for the hills.”

"A Second Family"

Brett describes Epilepsy Queensland as “cool cats. They are like a second family, where they understand what you are going through.”

Brett attends E-Connect, our program for teens and young adults, and really appreciates being able to meet new people and build skills for different life situations. “Leonie (Services Development Officer) and the other attendees make me feel included and I have fun role-playing and mucking about with them.”

He also participates in our weekly Zoom social group. “If it wasn’t for Epilepsy Queensland, I wouldn’t have met new friends. Working and my other commitments mean I have less time to socialise.”

A Community Champion

Brett has worked for Woolworths since 2013 and is a very community-minded and charitable person who is involved with several non-profit organisations. An accomplishment that he is really proud of is raising over $1700 for the Salvation Army Bushfire and Drought Relief Appeal by setting up a Christmas lights display fundraiser.

Brett has also travelled to Fiji with Samaritan’s Purse Australia as part of “Operation Christmas Child” and distributed shoeboxes filled with toys, hygiene items, school supplies, and fun gifts to disadvantaged children.

“Talking to the children and seeing their smiles was amazing,” he says.

A Flourishing Future

In the future, Brett hopes to help establish a Redlands Lions group to “enable people to rally together and connect parents.” Brett also would like to form a parent’s dinner night where parents of children living with epilepsy can connect “so they don’t feel so alone.”

“When growing up as a child, Mum didn’t really have support. Mum is really deadly. She is my hero and has always been there to make sure I am OK.”

Brett wants others living with epilepsy to know: 

“Times are gonna get rough. The waves are gonna hit, at the end of the day, you gotta ride the waves. Don’t give up.”

He wants to convey there is support available: “Having an army of angels behind you makes you feel like you can do anything. They want to see you flourish.”