As part of the 17th annual Disability Awareness Week, Lisa Kent shared her story.
“It’ll never happen to me,” she thought. But it did. Just two months before Kent would came to UNK to study political sciences she was diagnosed with epilepsy.
Things have changed, and now unlike others who don’t feel comfortable talking about their disability, she wants to share her story.
She lost her driving priviliges as she has to be seizure free for three months before she can drive. The seizures can occur at any moment, for instance when she is just talking to somebody. The epilepsy makes her tired and causes concentration problems. “ I concentrate a little slower because the medications are so strong and because of the surgeries that I have had. ”
Kent had to undergo three surgeries, one more difficult: “They had to shave my hair. I walked around without a hat or anything to hide my bald head because I did not really care. Some people stared at me in Wal-Mart while others said, ‘You know, my friend’s child had the same surgery.’ ”
Although Kent could have easily given up, she decided to come back to school after her surgeries. “I returned to school in 2005 after my surgeries, and I am going to graduate in May. I learned to never give up when there is a bend in the road because you can always succeed.” Now, Kent is involved in many organizations. She is the public relations officer of Model United Nations, vice president of Locke and Key, and she has initiated a support group for people with epilepsy in Central Nebraska.
Kent thinks it is important that students learn more about epilepsy. “The best way to help students and the community understand issues is to educate them. I think epilepsy first aid is important. What if a student or a community member has a seizure and no one knows how to handle the situation? Education is power!”
On Tuesday Nov. 16, 7 p.m. in Copeland Hall 130, Kent talked about the challenges she faced as a student with epilepsy. Although Kent did not expect this to happen to her, she knows now that this does not have to impose a constraint on her.
She wants to help others and for people to know more about epilepsy. She asks, “Did you know that Dostoyevsky (a 19th century Russian novelist), Joan of Arc, Socrates and Julius Caesar all had epilepsy?”