Hemi Family Team Highlight
The Hemispherectomy Foundation supports children who have undergone a hemispherectomy due to intractable seizures. Epilepsy affects over 3 million people in the United States; 50 million world-wide. The Hemi Foundation supports the worst of the worst of these cases- children, whose only hope is this radical brain surgery.
The Hemispherectomy Foundation thanks the 5K and Virtual Runners that support our Hemi Families by registering for the Dreams on Wings!
Benjamin Jacob Swanson was born on July 2, 2008. Within a few days after birth he started having seizures. At 3 weeks of age, he was life-flighted to Denver Children's Hospital 4 hrs south of his home town of Casper, WY. While there he underwent an MRI which showed that he had a brain malformation called Cortical Dysplasia of the left hemisphere. This condition is what was causing him to seize. After trialing many different seizure medications with little to no effect on stopping his 30+ seizures a day, it was determined that hemisphercetomy brain surgery was his best option for seizure-freedom. On November 19, 2008 at 4 months of age, Benjamin had left functional hemispherectomy at Denver Children's Hospital. The surgery lasted over 9 hours and Benjamin had to receive moderate amounts of blood and blood products during the surgery.
Since surgery, Benjamin has had an amazing recovery and a second chance at a life he would have never known if he had not had this drastic procedure. Ben is completely seizure-free and medication-free and he is a very bright and happy little boy. Benjamin starting saying his first words at about 10 months of age, he started "bottom-scooting" at 15 months of age, and he starting pulling himself up and walking at 20 months old. Benjamin is now 3 1/2 years old and is just like any other little boy his age. He is full of life and energy, he loves to laugh, and his personality is infectious. Ben can run and jump and play, he attends a regular daycare/preschool with other children his age, and he is fully potty-trained (with the exception of needing a pull-up still during the night). Benjamin receives PT and OT on a weekly basis and his cognitive and speech development are right where they need to be for his age.
We feel so grateful and blessed that our son Benjamin is doing so well and that he is able to live a full and happy life free from seizures. He has brought so much joy and happiness to our lives and has taught us so many things that we never would have known had we not gone through what we have with him as our son. We are also blessed by having such supportive and loving friends and family and also by the wonderful families we have met through the Hemispherectomy Foundation. We are so glad that such a foundation exists to bring support to families facing hemispherectomy surgery and to share stories of inspiration and hope. Thank you for supporting us and our son Benjamin!