I promise. Two little words that we so often over use. I promise I will wash the car. I promise I won’t tell a secret. I promise I will be home early so you can go out with your friends. I promise. But what does that really mean? It means a commitment to do something. It means someone trusts you to follow through on your word.
I made a promise to Livy many years ago. It was no small promise and is one that has utterly changed my course in this world. I promised to do whatever I could to help her and to find a cure for epilepsy. In 2009, she was in the hospital with uncontrolled seizures. I sat there watching the nurses put Ativan in her IV. Then I watched as she began seizing again only a half hour later. This went on and on for two months until she eventually received a hemispherectomy; an aggressive procedure that disconnected the left side of her brain. It was her second brain surgery. She continued to have seizure after seizure for another month until we finally regained control. That hospital stay seemed like an eternity. I left the hospital a different person on many levels.
Over the course of those painful, emotional days, I had a lot of time to think about life. Why was this happening? Why are there not better treatments? Why is there not more research? Always why. When Livy was at her lowest is when I made her my promise; a promise that runs deep and is bound by a father and daughter relationship that knows only unconditional love. It is based on an unspoken trust and a smile that knows only goodness. I made her a promise to do whatever I could to help her and to find a cure.
Livy cannot speak and sees the world from an entirely different perspective, which has made me completely reevaluate my purpose in life. Like so many, I always wondered, “Why am I am here? What is my real purpose?” It took Livy to help me realize what my path is meant to be. Lemonade for Livy is just the beginning of a long journey to make a stand against epilepsy. I know there will be many battles fought along the way. But this is one I promise I will not lose. It is now a promise which has more meaning every time I hear about parents who have been in the trenches hoping above all things that their children will stop having seizures.
“A Father’s Promise: Making A Stand Against Epilepsy” is an affirmation of my promise to Livy and a plea to all of you to join us in Lemonade for Livy. Livy continues to struggle with epilepsy on a regular basis and every seizure brings me back to that time in the hospital. To all those parents who watch their children endure the effects of epilepsy and witness the impact it has on your entire family, please know that my promise to Livy is one to you as well. Your stories, your calls for help are always in my mind and drive me forward. I will never stop fighting, I will never stop pushing, I will never stop hoping for a cure.