Sam Gottsch

“Winning Kid” for 2008-2009

Sam Gottsch is a very kind, funny and loving ten-year-old kid. He is never at a loss for words, is great at video games, likes to read and loves the water. Sam especiallyloves animals and would like to be a veterinatian. During the winter Sam loves going with his family (parents, Dan and Leslie, and big sister Sydney) to Aunt Ruth’s cabin in New Meadows., sledding, building igloos, skiing and riding the “snowboard bike” his dad built. In the spring and summer months, Sam enjoys backpacking, canoeing and camping with his family and friends. People would probably never guess that Sam has a seizure disorder unless they actually witnessed an episode.

When Sam was three years old, he started having “dizzy” spells. After taking him to his pediatrician, Sam’s parents took him to an ear, nose, and throat specialist, a pediatric neurologist, a cardiologist and an audiologist. Luckily, the audiologist witnessed one of Sam’s spells and sent him back to the neurologist. He was diagnosed with epilepsy in July of 2001. Sam’s seizures progressed to tonic clonic seizures-sometimes having 20 a day and more at night. His seizures were brought under control by Depakote for almost a year and then returned. Over the past seven years, after numerous changes in medication, visits to Seattle, Salt Lake City, and UCLA, Sam’s seizures are somewhat under control. Because tests have not shown where Sam’s seizures originate, he is not a candidate for surgery. Sam is under the care of Dr. Wechsler and takes a combination of three different anti-seizure medications morning and night. Still, several times a year, Sam will have clusters of seizures for up to two weeks-night and day- usually while his body is fighting a virus or sinus infection.

Thanks to principal Bob Amburn, Nurse Adde and his teacher’s assistant Mr. Marker, Sam is now a happy fifth grader at Washington Elementary School. While Sam’s seizures can still be a struggle, they never diminish his zest forlife, fun and happiness. Sam and his family are lucky to have fantastic, loving friends who are always there and never make Sam feel less than what his is- a normal, wonderful kid.