Lives with: epilepsy
Referred by: Jeff Gordon's Children's Hospital
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Favorite Sport: football
Sports Hero: Drew Brees
Elijah is a 13-year-old from Charlotte, NC and football are in his blood. His grandfather played for the Miami Dolphins in 1973 so he gets his love of the game naturally. His father describes Elijah as “uniquely strong,” he is grounded in his faith, beliefs, and convictions. He was only 8-years-old when he was diagnosed with Petit Mal seizures which were also about the time he began playing organized football. Once his family received the diagnosis, as a precaution, they decided it would be best if he stopped playing. After extensive research, a medicine regimen, and a better understanding of what symptoms to be aware of, he was given another chance to play the game he loves so much. He excels at football and it has had a positive impact on his overall happiness.
His condition has also brought challenges for Elijah in school. He is a very smart boy and participates in a scholar program with a very demanding regimen of study and attention. The largest hurdle he faces each day with his type of seizures is small blocks of missing time which might mean he misses new instruction and other information vital to his success. Elijah often has to ask the same question more than once or have administrators repeat themselves. There have been some administrators that have even misdiagnosed him with a short attention span. At times, these side effects of the seizures still cause Elijah some embarrassment but despite it all, he works hard and is determined to excel!
Elijah has an amazing support system, his mom, dad, and three sisters (one of which who lives with the same condition) work together to support him. They’ve said he is not one to be pitied, he only wants a chance to show the world that he is the “Apex Predator”, a nickname he has adopted describing his ability to overcome all obstacles and still come out on top.
Elijah’s sports heroes are his grandfather and Drew Brees and even though he is the only New Orleans Saints fan in his family, he proudly sports his black and gold!