Morgan Aguillard, a junior at LSU, knows just how hard the difficulties of growing up with epilepsy can be.
Diagnosed at age 4, Morgan’s generalized tonic clonic seizures were difficult to manage. It took several years, several medications and several negative side effects to finally find something that seems to somewhat control her seizures.
Morgan’s family was extremely supportive through all the trial and error, yet Morgan still struggled. She says, “When I was diagnosed I didn’t understand it all, but as I got older I became angry with myself a lot, especially when I was a teenager. I wanted to do everything everyone else was doing. I wanted to stay up late at sleepovers, but if I didn’t get enough sleep I might have a seizure. I wanted to go swimming with my friends, but I had to make sure that someone was always watching me. I was unable to drive, like all my friends were, in high school because of my seizures. It wasn’t easy all the time.”
Despite all this, Morgan always tried to prove that while her disorder may get in the way sometimes, it couldn’t stop her from doing everything. She played almost every sport growing up — including softball, soccer, swim, basketball, dance, and gymnastics. These extracurricular actives were made possible by taking the proper precautions and making sure that everyone around her was educated and aware. Morgan believes “being responsible with the choices you make and understanding that even though you may have to alter certain things in your life, it doesn’t make you so different from the rest of the world.”
Morgan has accomplished a lot in her 21 years, but her tenacity is what she is most proud of. “I’ve had serious injuries and some close calls,” she says, “Epilepsy has also caused me to lose some of my long-term memory, which is especially hard. There are memories I’ll never get back so I cherish every one I make now. I try not to take for granted how lucky I am to be able to live somewhat of a normal life. I graduated high school as an honor student, was accepted into LSU and have big plans to attend law school in the future.”
Morgan is a true inspiration and a great advocate for epilepsy. She believes that instead of being angry about your diagnosis, you should embrace it by getting involved in awareness. Last year, Morgan ran in EFL’s Seize the Day 5K to do just that and encourages everyone to join her this year on March 28.