In 6th grade, Emma Borys experienced staring spells. Other times, her eyelids fluttered.
The symptoms confused her and her parents: Aimee, director of the Earthplace preschool, and Steve, a social studies teacher in Westchester and Westport youth sports coach.
They also confused her Coleytown Middle School teachers. From time to time, they thought, she just wasn’t paying attention.
Eventually, Emma was diagnosed with epilepsy.
When her younger brother Peter was in 6th grade, he got the same diagnosis. For that to occur, both parents had to carry recessive genes.
Emma’s epilepsy was more pronounced than Peter’s. She began having seizures. It was hard to find the right medication, and proper dose. The side effects were strong.
She was active in Staples Players, doing hair and makeup as well as acting. But last spring she had to take the final quarter of junior year off.
This summer she felt better. She worked as a counselor at the Earthplace summer program, attended vocal camp and was a Harbor Watch intern. She’s now back at Staples full-time, and is a crew head for the upcoming Players production of “Legally Blonde.”
Emma is also active in the Epilepsy Foundation of Connecticut. In fact, she’s a “Face of Epilepsy” for the state.
“A lot of educators don’t know how epilepsy impacts kids,” her mother says. “It’s hard for parents to do this on their own. And each kid has different symptoms and reactions to medications. They come in and describe each child’s case individually.”
This Sunday (October 7), Emma and Peter — now an 8th grade football and basketball player — will give back to the group that has given them so much. They’ll form a team for the Great Purple Pumpkin 5K for Epilepsy trail run in Farmington.
Through Earthplace, Staples Players and sports, many Westporters know the Borys family. Emma and Peter have joined the 5K as a team. Their parents support them strongly.
Now everyone else can too. Click here to contribute to their fundraising effort.
(Hat tip: Jaime Bairaktaris)