Courtney Grand was diagnosed with epilepsy at three years old, when she began having Grand Mal seizures. After a few months of trying different medicines, her pediatric neurologist, Dr. Charlotte Hollman, put her on a combination of two medications that successfully controlled her seizures.
Courtney says, “I know I am one of the lucky ones who didn’t have to grow up with the stigma of epilepsy. I was tremendously blessed that we found something that worked. There’s no rhyme or reason why my seizures stopped, but I know that it was Dr. Hollman who saved my life by not giving up.”
Courtney didn’t give up, either, or let her struggles get in her way. She graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Fashion Promotion from TCU in 2004. After college, she worked as a department store merchandiser and stylist for Scoop NYC in New York City and Dallas before moving home to Baton Rouge last year.
Shortly after returning, she became involved with Epilepsy Foundation Louisiana through her still close relationship with Dr. Hollman. She had some free time and the foundation needed some extra hands, so she began volunteering. Courtney helped make last year’s gala a huge success by collecting auction items, helping spread the word, and even donating some of her own creative work. She has also given her time to assist with many trainings and other events.
Courtney’s time volunteering led her to think about her experience with epilepsy a little more. She was young and doesn’t remember too much about her diagnosis, but she can recall her parents being nervous because they didn’t know what the consequences or ramifications would be from the seizures and medication. Her seizures only lasted about four months and she was able to get off her medication five years after starting it. However, it wasn’t until recently that she started to think about how they have affected her through the years. The side effects of her medications have had the most impact on her life, creating obstacles she has had to overcome.
Questioning these things made her see the benefits of getting involved with EFL. She now realizes how important raising awareness is and how it is imperative to be informed. Courtney thinks it is important to seek information, help, and advice. She also recommends taking advantage of support groups, “sometimes the best thing and biggest comfort is to talk to people who have been through what you have been through,” she says. She encourages people to work with their diagnosis, to ask questions about everything, and stay educated so that they may live a better life now AND in the future.
Courtney believes “everyone should find a cause they care about, because you get to give back and meet amazing people while doing it.” We are thankful that Epilepsy Foundation Louisiana is the cause she has chosen to give her time to. She is a great advocate and a truly caring person.
Courtney is helping us plan another great gala, only this year she is doing it from a state away! She just moved her talents to Austin, TX, where she is opening and managing a store called The Gypsy Wagon. She will be missed in Baton Rouge, but we know she’ll find success in Austin, just like she does everywhere else.