Alan Faneca - Steps Toward Zero (STZ) Champion, Epilepsy Patient, & NFL All-Star on Sideline Alan Faneca - Steps Toward Zero (STZ) Champion, Epilepsy Patient, & NFL All-Star on Sideline

Alan Faneca

  • Former professional football player and hall of fame inductee

  • Experienced his first complex-partial seizure at 15 years old, which lead to an eventual epilepsy diagnosis

  • Spokesperson for the Epilepsy Foundation of America and the Epilepsy Foundation of Western/Central Pennsylvania

Alan began playing football in grade school. But on Christmas Eve, at 15 years old, he suffered his first complex-partial seizure, and eventually received an epilepsy diagnosis. Alan was put on a path to find the right medication and was relieved when his doctor advised that he could continue playing football. He was drafted in 1998 and played for 3 professional football teams until he retired in 2011. In 2021 he was named to the hall of fame.

STZ advice from Alan—

“Stay the course, stick with the doctor's that work for you, it's not the end or the beginning, it's the path, the path you're on!”

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Kenzie O'Connell - Steps Toward Zero (STZ) Champion, Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado Ambassador, & Professional Golfer Kenzie O'Connell - Steps Toward Zero (STZ) Champion, Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado Ambassador, & Professional Golfer

Kenzie O’Connell

  • Professional golfer

  • Diagnosed at the age of 21 with Vestibular Epilepsy & Todd’s Paresis, a form of epilepsy that involves vertigo-induced vestibular seizures

  • Epilepsy Foundation of America and Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado ambassador

Born in Sidney, Nebraska, Kenzie started playing golf at the age of 5, eventually turning her love of the game into a full-time occupation. Amidst a budding golf career, at 21 Kenzie was diagnosed with epilepsy and took a break from competing. Eventually, after striking a balance with her treatment regimen, Kenzie was able to focus on her golf career once again. Today, as a voice of positivity about her own epilepsy journey, Kenzie has found a community where she continues to advocate for people with epilepsy. In her free time, she loves traveling and furthering her artistic talents, which include drawing, sketching, and painting.

STZ advice from Kenzie—

“Having honest conversations with your healthcare team is so important. Tell them exactly how you feel and ask all the questions, even if you think it has nothing to do with your epilepsy. Still ask them.”

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Natalie Beavers - Epilepsy Patient, Founder & CEO of Angels of Epilepsy Natalie Beavers - Epilepsy Patient, Founder & CEO of Angels of Epilepsy

Natalie Beavers

  • Founder/CEO of Angels of Epilepsy, a charity and advocacy group that provides assistance for families and survivors battling epilepsy and brain disorders

  • Diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 5

  • Received the WEGO Health 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award

Natalie was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 5 when doctors found a scar on her left temporal lobe. In 2008, Natalie founded the award-winning 501(c)(3) charity, Angels of Epilepsy, that supports, advocates, and provides educational information to the epilepsy community. With Angels of Epilepsy, Natalie continues to host health seminars and workshops across the country to spread awareness and support to those who are battling epilepsy.

STZ advice from Natalie—

“Definitely do not be afraid or ashamed to discuss what you’re going through with your healthcare team. They are there to help!”

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Jared Muscat - Epilepsy Patient & Digital Marketer Jared Muscat - Epilepsy Patient & Digital Marketer

Jared Muscat

  • Avid surfer, digital marketer at Patagonia

  • Diagnosed at age 17 with tonic clonic seizures and focal cortical dysplasia in his front-left temporal lobe

  • Once paddled 17 miles from home to work to raise epilepsy awareness

Jared Muscat was diagnosed with epilepsy at 17. Upon the diagnosis, doctors discouraged Jared from surfing, to which he replied, “if you want me to be stress free, I can’t be salt free.” Jared took that motto to heart later in life when partnering with the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles on “Epileptic Opportunity;” a 17-mile paddle from his home to his office, livestreamed on Facebook. Shortly after that paddle, he underwent a temporal lobotomy to remove the Focal Cortical Dysplasia from his front left temporal lobe. Now 31, Jared’s 3 greatest loves are his son, his wife, and the ocean. When he’s not at his desk or in his garden, you can find him out in the ocean on his own or with his 2-year-old son onboard.

STZ advice from Jared—

“Always remember your health is more important than anything, and that means you can never ask too many questions, take too many tests, or research too much.”

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