Georgean Hillyer, Is a wife to Patrick Hillyer and the mother of 6 beautiful children, Christopher, Joseph, Jessica, Aaliyah, Joshua, and Alexandrea. Their lives were changed forever when their fourth child had her first seizure at three months old.
She was in and out of the hospital every month; no one knew what exactly was causing her seizures and the doctors ordered many tests and tried many medicines. Aaliyah has as sequence alteration in the ATP1A2 gene. This gene encodes a subunit of the sodium/potassium ATPase channel, a channel that coordinates influx and efflux of sodium and potassium ions for an individual neuron, making it more or less capable of firing. A mutation in this gene is best known for causing familial hemiplegic migraine type 2. However, there have also been reports of children with severe epilepsy due to mutations in this gene.
At 18 months old she was in the hospital for a month and a half. She was put in a drug Induced coma to stop seizure activity when she finally awoke; they received news that paralysis affected her left side. Being told their Daughter would never walk, talk, or frankly do anything was news that is so difficult to hear
Aaliyah entered the early intervention program, and she had developmental, speech, occupational, and physical therapy. As a family, we were not going to give up on her, and she was very determined, she was sitting up, crawling, and eating in a few months and was walking and saying at least ten words by the time she was three. Her determination also played an important role in my life. I decided to go back to school and become an Illinois credentialed developmental therapist. I needed to know how to help her and what her rights were, and I felt I needed to help d guide other parents and their families.
Unfortunately, Aaliyah had another episode in July of 2011, she again was put in a drug-induced coma and woke up paralyzed on the right side. So, we had to start over with all therapies to get her to walk, talk, and eat again. She is still very determined, but it has been hard. We have had to fight to keep her therapies; we have to prove that she is still improving.
Our insurance doesn’t believe nutrition is essential. As part of the Epilepsy Warriors Foundations board, It is my goal to help as many families as I can, I want them to know they are their child’s best advocate, and they are not alone. I want to inform corporations, insurance companies, and others that there is so much more to epilepsy than just a seizure or two it can change a family’s life more than they can imagine. I look forward to serving and putting the interests of our kids first and spreading awareness about how important this cause is.