Although Blake Bates, a Rock Canyon High School student shaved his hair off during Wish Week to demonstrate support for Hope, a child with a life threatening condition, he didn’t realize that he was deserving of a wish as well. Taking into account his frequent stays at Children’s hospital and severity of his seizures, his mom submitted a wish referral inquiry to Make-A-Wish Foundation. Recently, he was granted a wish because he too has a potentially life threatening health condition. Make-A-Wish made it possible for Bates and his family to attend The Anime Expo in Los Angeles which is similar to Comic Con, but for anime fans.
Bates experiences 8 types of seizures. His seizures are caused by pediatric stroke damage. Some include grand mal which he described as “movie seizures” where he crashes on the ground while his muscles spasm erratically. Some seizures that he gets are cluster seizures, while some are a combination of seizures, for example hand numbness and vision loss. Another kind of seizure Bates experiences is a partial complex psychic seizure where he feels as if he is in a YouTube video that is speeded up. His seizures are triggered by noises, environment, temperature change, not taking his pills, and stress of activities.
Bates comes up with solutions to help with everyday aspects in his life. Bates innovatively came up with a “MacGyver” invention to assist with the left part of his body’s weakness, also known as hemiplegia. He screwed a nail clipper into a block of wood so that he could press down on the nail clipper to make it work instead of squeezing it because of his left hand’s weakness. Since Bates uses 1 ½ times as much energy as people without hemiplegia and epilepsy, he is constantly tired and his brother, Cole Bates commented, “I want to play with my brother, but he’s always tired.”
A support group from The Children’s Hospital helped Bates discover his passion for snowboarding as it is presently one of his main hobbies along with online gaming.
When helping someone out who has seizures, stay calm and give them a safe space to be until the seizure is over. If someone is having a grand mal seizure, call an ambulance.
During these situations in life, true colors shine through and Bates has vibrant, effervescent, vigorous, and positive colors brimming with inner strength that inspire others to be strong, just like him. Bates keeps such a great attitude through the bullying he endures, tough medical experiences, and being called “seizure boy” by persevering and finding his way through humor, positivity, and acting years beyond his age developing his large attribute of maturity. His words of inspiration for kids with seizures are, ”You will be sent everywhere to tons of doctors and appointments, but you will eventually find what works for you.” Bates demonstrates daily that attitude is everything and a positive outlook on life is essential.