The Epilepsy Foundation of Northern California recently awarded the Paul E. Smith Scholarship to Philip Wu, a Pitman High School recent graduate, Class of 2012, who has suffered from Epilepsy since the age of 10. Although the disorder has indeed had a significant impact on his life, Philip Wu has demonstrated the tremendous capability to overcome the challenges of the disorder and raise awareness for it.
The Smith Family in partnership with the Epilepsy Foundation of Northern California created the Paul E. Smith Scholarship. This scholarship was first awarded in 2011 providing financial assistance of $1,000 to a graduating High School Senior living with seizures to help pursue her college dreams.
This is the second year of the Paul E. Smith scholarship, and with the help of generous donations of the Smith Family, their friends and other contributors, the scholarship award has grown to $2,000. It is the hope of the Epilepsy Foundation of Northern California and the Smith Family to continue the growth of this scholarship to help students living with seizure disorders recognize their dreams.
The recipient of this year’s award, Philip Wu, is an active participant in his education and the education of others. Dr. Hutching, Philips neurologist, notes in his letter of recommendation, “ I am proud of Philip and what he has accomplished. In the past he had seizures as often as every hour.”
With treatment of different medications, Philips seizures are now essentially controlled. Philip is an inspiration to the Epilepsy community, as he has overcome the challenges of life with seizures. Among his many accomplishments, Philip has been an advocate and spokesman in the Kids Speak Up program, as part of the EFNC, and has raised awareness and funds for the Annual Epilepsy Foundation of Northern California Stroll. Philip has also shared his musical talents with a performance of a classical piano piece at one of the Epilepsy Foundation Annual Galas.
Alongside his achievements in raising awareness of Epilepsy, Philip has also been accepted to numerous universities such as UC Merced, UC Davis, UC Berkeley and CSU Stanislaus. Philip plans to continue his advocacy for Epilepsy Awareness during his college years and beyond. He dreams to have continued research and new treatments in the future for others like himself living with epilepsy.
Philip was chosen of all the candidates to be awarded the Paul E. Smith scholarship due to his active advocacy on behalf of the epilepsy community, as well as his determination to persevere.
The Smith Family and the Epilepsy Foundation of Northern California wish to recognize and applaud Philip for his amazing recommendations and academic success.
Letter from Paul’s family:
Paul E. Smith was a bright, dynamic man with a wide range of interests including music, sports, outdoor activities, history and modern culture. Possessing a wry sense of humor, Paul was a catalyst for laughter and for bringing people together, no matter their differences.
Paul was a History major at Humboldt State which was a good fit for him because he was convinced that our modern culture and current political situation can only be understood only if we know our past and how circumstances have evolved over time. He also was also a music composer whose band was gaining in popularity.
In 2008, Paul’s life changed drastically when he started experiencing seizures at the age of 20. We were not as educated as well as we could have been to effectively deal with Paul’s condition. We wish we could have found the Epilepsy Foundation of Northern California earlier because they provide health and lifestyle suggestions that can minimize the consequences of seizures, especially for those newly diagnosed with epilepsy.
Unfortunately, on May 3, 2010, at the age of 22, Paul died during a seizure that he experienced in the shower. We never want to have another family experience what we have and hope that a similar tragedy can be avoided. We also want to empower another person with epilepsy because Paul didn’t let epilepsy impede his dreams.
The main goal of the Paul E. Smith Memorial Scholarship Fund is to provide financial assistance to qualified applicants with epilepsy so they can pursue their life’s dreams. It is extremely important that newly diagnosed individuals receive counseling, or, at the minimum, express their concerns with their doctors or a loved one. We also hope to improve epilepsy awareness and to provide support and safety tips to others living with epilepsy.
For more information about seizures and epilepsy, or about other programs and services offered through the Epilepsy Foundation of Northern California, please visit www.epilepsynorcal.org Contributions toward this scholarship can be made through the EFNC web site. Please note if donation is specified for this or another program offered through EFNC.