On October 1, 2016, Epilepsy Foundation Louisiana hosted its 11th annual bike tour, Seize the Road in Shreveport, LA. It was a great event and many people helped make it successful, but special credit is due to a certain middle school student from Shreveport – Avery Boultinghouse.

Avery rode the 12-mile route that morning, which is impressive alone, but he also collected $5,000 in donations for epilepsy services in Louisiana and won a cruise for being the top fundraiser! This wasn’t Avery’s first time riding in this bike tour or being the top fundraiser. He has done both in years prior and participates to feel positive about helping others like him who struggle with epilepsy.

At 13 years old, Avery has more perseverance than most adults, and not just when it comes to cycling. He was diagnosed seven years ago with Juvenile Myoclonic and Benign Rolandic Epilepsy and the road to managing his seizures has not been the easiest.

Following his diagnosis, Avery and his family went through three doctors in three years and experienced many set backs, but they never gave up. Eventually they found a doctor that could that could help and things started looking up. Avery now follows a modified Atkins diet and received a Vagus Nerve Stimulator (VNS) in November of 2015. He also takes anti-seizure medication.

In the beginning of his struggle to control the seizures, Avery was excused from a month of school while trying medications. Constant absence seizures challenged his memory and learning, making school difficult for a while upon returning. However, Avery says the low carbohydrate diet and VNS help him think more clearly. Now he’s on the honor roll!

The hardest part about epilepsy for Avery? He says, “I would love to eat what my friends eat but my diet is kind of like a medicine. My parents allow me to have treats on special occasions though. I don’t really like to tell people I have epilepsy–but I will tell a friend if I trust them.”

Avery is getting more confident everyday. He is very proud of being the top fundraiser for Seize the Road and likes helping people and raising money for Epilepsy Foundation Louisiana.

“EFL helps all kinds of people. They help pay for a camp I go to in the summer called Med Camps. They have an epilepsy week. All the kids there have epilepsy and we do all the regular summer camp things like campfires, swimming and horseback riding,” says Avery.

Avery really likes Med Camps and will keep helping to make sure programs like it and others continue by participating in the bike tour. He is only getting started and shows no signs of slowing down. As long as Avery sticks to his own advice of never giving up, epilepsy can eat his dust!