New diet vastly improves the life of local boy with epilepsy

LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A local boy is overcoming all odds in his fight to beat epilepsy after adopting a new diet.

Sam Meyers, 8, has a rare form of epilepsy known as Doose Syndrome.

“He had absolutely no quality of life,” his mother, Becky Meyers, said. “His head would drop violently on the table.”

Becky said Sam suffered hundreds of seizures a day requiring 24/7 monitoring.

“Make sure that he was safe,” his dad, Mike Meyers, said. “Even just going to the bathroom was difficult for him.”

Sam couldn’t go to school, and medications didn’t help. But an old diet gave the Meyers hope.

“Medicine wasn’t working,” Mike said. “We had to try it for him.”

The Meyers made a trip to Boston Children’s Hospital, and under the supervision of doctors, Sam began a high fat, low carb diet known as the ketogenic diet.

“I just knew in my heart that he was going to get better,” Becky said.

After a few weeks and a brief recurrence of seizures, one day, Sam woke up.

“Just within five seconds there was something different about him that morning,” Mike said.

“He said, ‘Good morning, mommy,’” Becky recalled. “You just knew the diet was working.”

But it’s a diet that many adults can’t handle.

“It is a very difficult treatment in the sense that it limits a person’s ability to eat freely,” Dr. Ann Bergin, neurologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, said.

But Dr. Bergin said the diet decreases the likelihood of seizures.

Even being around food is still a major struggle for Sam, but it’s the family’s bond that makes not eating normally not a problem.

“It’s a miracle,” Becky said. “It really is.”

Sam has been seizure free for 15 months and is doing normal kid things.

“He’s a great swimmer,” Becky said.

And it’s all thanks to a family and remarkable boy not willing to give up.

“You should keep on doing it,” Sam said.

“Keep on trying, right,” Becky echoed. “Never give up.”

Sam returned to school and enjoys recess and getting to play with his friends. He was named a Winning Kid for 2015 by the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern NY.

Two events will take place to raise funds to help children with epilepsy: A bowling event has been scheduled for June 1 at Sunset Recreation Bowling in Albany, and the Jake Straugter Memorial Golf Tournament will take place on September 28.

To learn more about the Northeastern New York Epilepsy Foundation, click here.