More than three million people are living with epilepsy in the U.S.

It can develop at any time, but most often, it happens during childhood, causing uncontrollable and unpredictable seizures. It’s one of the most common neurological disorders among children.

Medications can help control

Ela Allam was born a fighter. She suffered a stroke before she was even born.

“We were told Ela’s not gonna walk, she’s not gonna talk,” Alex Allam, Ela’s father, recalled.

But with therapy, Ela defied the odds.

“We saw Ela started to stand up. I started walking with her in the mall,” Alex said.

the seizures and there’s new hope for children when the drugs don’t work.

But then, a few years later, the seizures started.

“To see your kid, seven, eight-years-old, just collapsing on the floor and you don’t know if she’s gonna wake up or not,” Alex recalled.

The medication stopped working, and Ela was having three to five seizures a day and began falling behind in school.

The final resort was brain surgery. Dr. Muhammad Zafar, pediatric neurologist at Duke Health, says the hospital believed Ela’s brain had shifted important functions away from the damaged area to other parts of the brain.

“So, her function that was supposed to be carried on by the right hemisphere, moved to the left hemisphere, because the injury happened very early in life,” Dr. Zafar explained.

A team at Duke Health performed a hemispherectomy to disconnect the damaged side of her brain from the healthy side.

“We are removing one part of the brain, but for her, fortunately, that’s what saved her life,” Dr. Zafar further explained.

Soon after, Ela started reading, began doing well in school and even learned how to swim. She hasn’t had a single seizure since.

“He took the seizures away,” Ela said proudly.

“She’s opening up. It’s like, her brain was locked with a key and somebody just opened it,” Alex exclaimed.

Ela is expected to continue to improve and hopefully, with more therapy, she will not show any signs of the stroke she had before she was born.

Dr. Zafar expects her to be off all seizure medication also.


Source:, Melanie Falcon