“Winning Kids” for 2004-2005
Every year the Epilepsy Foundation of Idaho looks for a child with epilepsy who can represent all Idaho children with seizure disorders. This year the Foundation found not one, but two “Winning Kids” who, through their struggles and triumphs, exemplify what so many face. From Post Falls in north Idaho comes eight-year-old Jakob Sears, and from Boise, comes Tiger Mingo, six years old.
In nominating Tiger for Idaho’s “Winning Kid”, Mom, Billie, wrote, “Tiger was born with cerebral palsy and a seizure disorder. He blows kisses to me and his teachers all day long. He can’t walk and he can’t talk, but he is the brightest part of my day.” When Tiger was two a vagus nerve stimulator was implanted to help reduce the numbers of seizures he had everyday. But even with this and multiple medications daily, this brave six-year old continues with seizures. As Mom reports, “His seizures control his body, but not his life. Tiger doesn’t let his physical limitations interfere with his ability to have fun. He is a fighter and the sweetest boy around.”
Jakob’s seizures began when he was two years old after a fall in a bathtub. Like Tiger, Jakob has faced multiple visits to hospitals and tried many medications. Jakob too has had the VNS implant. His seizures have been reduced, and now he wants the VNS to work so well, that he will be able to go off medicine and “just be a normal kid”. In the meantime, he brings his family, Mom, Dad, and little brother, Dylan, great joy and a realization that “every day is a precious gift”.
Earlier this fall Jakob and Tiger were recognized at their schools with Kids on the Block puppet shows. They received bright red “Winning Kid” T-shirts and baseball caps. Jakob and his Mom attended the “Winning Kid” luncheon in November. Tiger and Mom, Billie, were not able to attend. In February, Tonya and Shane Sears and Billie Mingo will be invited to attend the annual St. Valentine’ Day Massacre and share their sons’ stories.
These two boys, who hale from opposite ends of our state, demonstrate for all Idaho children with epilepsy how to meet their struggles straight on with courage and perseverance and always with a smile. We are with you Tiger and Jakob!