Dripping Springs 11-year-old raises awarness about epilepsy through non-profit
It's not always easy to stand up before your entire school to talk. That's exactly what Chase Johnson is doing.
The 11-year-old from Dripping Springs is on a mission to raise awareness about epilepsy. His campaign started inside Rooster Elementary School where he is a 5th grader.
"I was wondering why they are always talking about diabetes and other diseases but not epilepsy so I wanted to start something to raise awareness and help kids go to Camp Brainstorm," said Chase.
"When your kid says something like this as a father how do you say anything but yes," explained John Johnson, Chase's dad.
So the Johnson family got to work. Chase launched a non-profit called "Chase For the Cure." He created a website, manages social media and even handles all of the public speaking.
"If you see someone have a seizure there are certain things you should and shouldn't do," explained Chase. It's all part of his speech to schools.
Chase's seizures started when he was only three. At one point he experienced 20-25 a day. Thankfully, that number is down dramatically thanks to a VNS device which works like a pacemaker for the brain.
"A few months after this device was implanted the difference was enormous now he only has a couple of events per week," said Dr. Karen Keough. Keough is Chase's pediatric neurologist and epileptologist. Epilepsy is the second most common neurological problem for children.
"It's going off right now. It makes your voice shake. It detects seizures and tries to make them stop," explained Chase.
"We've gotten accustomed to it. We know what to do and know he's safe but especially in the beginning it's scary," Johnson said.
Dr. Keough is impressed with Chase and his determination. "I think it's brave of Chase to share it with his friends and say that it's a part of my life," she said.
It's been a journey for the Johnson family to find what works and it's one that is not over. It motivates Chase to educate more people about epilepsy.
"We have a lot of treatments out there of course we are always looking for more powerful treatments and solutions," said Keough.
"Proud. There's really not a word to describe. It's amazing to see your kid take on something like this and overcome his fears." said Johnson.
Chase is hosting an epilepsy awareness Hoop-A-Thon and Basketball Skills Challenge. It's October 22nd at the Dripping Springs High School gym. There will be prizes, bragging rights, a silent auction and a one hour clinic for kids K through 5th grade.
For more information visit Chase's website.