Events & News


Seizure Star: Brionna Freeman

Our March 2021 Seizure Star is Brionna Freeman, an incredible young person who was nominated by her epileptologist, Dr. Eric Segal! He expressed admiration for all she was accomplishing as a full-time college student while also working and much more.  Read below to learn about the Northeast Regional Epilepsy Group March Epilepsy Star!

My name is Brionna Freeman, I am 21 and currently a junior at Bloomfield College for my BS majoring in Child Psychology. Soon I will graduating soon 2022 and pursuing my professional goals.  

How did epilepsy first touch your life?             

I first encountered my epilepsy in my junior year of High School. However, it was not easily diagnosed. What I thought would be a regular day of getting ready for school ended up with me waking up in the hospital, which was scary. My parents told me afterwards that their initial thoughts were: If I was involved with doing a crazy challenge-trending at the time (that had resulted in a seizure). I was hospitalized for 2 days while tests were run.  It was an odd experience because I was otherwise athletic and healthy. Initially, it was a mystery for the doctors, my parents, and for myself. 

Not fully understanding, the doctors thought I would be done with seizures after 30 days. But that was not true. Two years later, quite unexpectedly, another seizure happened. This was my second. This one was probably the scariest one I've had because I was in California away from my parents. I was with an organization I was in at the time, Sadie Nash. All I remember is taking a trip to California for college visits for the weekend and the day I was expected to come home I thought I would be getting in the car, but instead, blacked out. Without a doubt, that experience made me grateful to be with the girls I had learned to trust over the couple months I was in this sisterhood group. My parents freaked out when they received a call about me having had my second seizure. It was then that I met Dr. Segal during a follow up appt of the second seizure. Over the past six year, this has been the best care. The last seizure I had was on October 2019 which was actually at my job. It was at that point when I realized the need for awareness on education on seizures. 

What has your journey with epilepsy been like? Have you faced other adversities in life?

My journey started around 2016; I had no clue what even happened. Living with seizures has its up and downs but I push through every day. I will admit, at first, it was very hard to accept that I had seizures and people would tell me what I was limited to do. I was hurt about the changes and what is worse is that it was happening at a point in my life when I was just becoming independent in my head. There were times when I would be stubborn about the situation and some days I would keep the truth to myself if a seizure happened because I did not want my progress to stall and to have to restart from scratch. However, as I moved forward on this journey, I grew to understand that your body will tell you what you need to do, maybe you need to relax. You need to listen to it. I learned to have patience and to take my time in life. As of right now, I have finally considered I was ready to get my driver's license with the proper clearance. I even started to become more active in my community, by keeping my role in Weequahic Park Sports Authority, where I not only became a seasonal tennis coach but also a youth director for Weequahic Park Sports Authority summer camp yearly. I have come to recognize myself and to put myself first now that I am considered a young adult. As I have developed, I have come to appreciate the value of medical advice and have been able to apply it to my daily life where I was able to continue while advocating and staying involved in my community.

Have you been active in epilepsy advocacy in the past? (walks, Purple Day, International Epilepsy day, etc.)?

I have been active in my own way by speaking up and correcting the stigma about people with epilepsy. In my opinion, I am a walking example of epilepsy not stopping my daily life. Although every case is different, what is most often mentioned is all that we cannot do, rather than pushing to see what we still can do. We fight every day to keep ourselves healthy and limit the possibilities of a seizure occurring if we can. 

I would like to be more involved with the Epilepsy Walks but for right now every year I donate to charities that are raising money for others with epilepsy. I look forward to organizing an event close to home where I can educate my family and friends about seizure awareness.

What do you see for yourself in the future?

In the future I see a lot coming together. First, finishing my masters in speech-language pathology and working with children. That is something I have a real passion to do. I enjoy helping others and being with children, so this combines both. Also, in the near future, I am going to go through the necessary steps to see if I am eligible to help my mom with her kidney transplant. I plan to go through the process beside her. 

Thank you, Brionna, for sharing your inspiring story with us and we wish you the absolute best in your future.  Congratulations to you, Northeast Regional Epilepsy Group March Epilepsy Star!

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