After a seven-year-old boy was left without access to care for a condition that causes seizures, his mother began fighting for him to get the support he needs while at school.
Now, their battle has resulted in a win.
Stephanie Vazquez’s son Noah Peppin has had hundreds of seizures in his life, but the boy has not had one in the past five years. However, his condition – Sturge-Weber Syndrome – is progressive and incurable, which is why Noah will not be out of the woods any time soon.
As previously reported by Peace Arch News, the family was informed in March that because he had not had a seizure in the previous year, Noah no longer qualified for the services previously provided to him at school by the Ministry of Health’s Nursing Support Services (NSS).
Noah was assigned a nurse a couple of years ago at Sunnyside Elementary, who worked with the family to create a care plan and with the school to train staff on how to recognize a seizure and administer emergency medication.
After Noah was discharged from these services, he has remained on anti-seizure medication, but his family was left worrying for his well-being every day while he attended school. If a seizure were to occur while he was at school, no staff were permitted to administer any medication to him, instead they were to call 911.
“During the time he had no care plan at school, I didn’t leave my house. I needed to be close in case something happened,” Noah’s mother recalled.
Refusing to accept this, Vazquez began getting the word out about the change in Noah’s care by starting an online petition. Her hope was “that maybe, just maybe, someone that could change a policy would see it,” she said.
“Other families were going through similar challenges. A lot of them shared their frustration with me and I used all of that collectively to communicate and keep the spotlight on this topic. I knew it had to stay top of mind or nothing would be done.”
A sign of success was finally sent to Vazquez and her family on Sept. 8 when she received a letter from the Ministry of Health. Included in the letter was the decision by the government to reverse their initial decision to discharge not only Noah, but every student who was in a similar situation.
Now, every student will have access to care regardless of when the most recent seizure occurred.
“I was bawling as I was reading the letter while talking to another friend who’s son was facing the same battle. All of our hard work had paid off. It was over. My son, her son, and thousands of other children could go to school safely because they would have medication on site and trained staff to administer in the event of a seizure,” Noah’s mother said.