Family affected by epilepsy seeks community help


CHESTER COUNTY, Tennessee – A family affected by epilepsy is looking for solutions.

“You don’t know how long it takes 30 seconds before your child has a seizure,” said Katie Newsom, mother of two-year-old Anistyn Newsom.

Anistyn Newsom started having seizures in January. After a series of tests and trips to different hospitals, they saw no change and had no response.

The seizures quickly progressed, so her family took her to Vanderbilt for another opinion.

“One thing led to another. They ended up spending the night for EEGs and MRIs, and eventually discovered that she had cortical dysplasia. It’s right in the center of her brain, ”Katie Newsom said.

Cortical dysplasia is what causes Anistyn Newsom’s epilepsy. Some of the seizures left her unresponsive for hours.

She is now taking two different anti-seizure drugs, but the family is still constantly in and out of hospitals and clinics.

“I was scared to go to work to leave her because she had so many epileptic seizures, and it was very new to me. I never had epileptic seizures until January, so I ended up quitting my job to stay home with her full time, ”Katie Newsom said.

“We also have another three year old daughter, and with all the hospital visits, the overnight stays, you know it’s a struggle because she doesn’t understand. She thinks every time we drop her off with someone Anistyn goes to the hospital and it’s hard to deal with, ”Katie Newsom said.

They were recently told that a crisis intervention dog would be of great benefit.

The dog will make Anistyn Newsom more comfortable in the hospital environment, and he will occupy her attention while getting the procedures necessary for her epilepsy.

The dog will also be trained to retrieve her emergency rescue medication and to alert parents if she is on the verge or has a seizure.

“Anytime the bitch smells like she’s about to have a fit, the dog will bark to alert my husband and I, ‘Hey, a fit is coming. You have to get here, ”Katie Newsom said.

“My husband and I don’t get much sleep at night with her because she has seizures at night. The dog will be able to alert us at night, so it is a kind of peace of mind while we are sleeping. At least we know we’ll be alerted in a crisis, ”Katie Newsom said.

They have already found and met an English lab named Rogan who is trained to help. Unfortunately, assistance dogs are very expensive.

The family asks the community to help cover the costs. The big advantage of Anistyn Newsom is Saturday May 22.

There will be an early morning 5k, auction with live music and garage sale.

The family hope that after this Saturday they will have collected the money and can buy Rogan for Anistyn Newsom.

“Thank you for all the donations, all the prayers, all the messages, check in on Anistyn. Chester County has always been known to come forward and show up when there is someone in need, ”said Katie Newsom. “And when you experience it firsthand, it’s so humbling.”

To find more information on events to help the Newsom family, click here.


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