Sixteen year old Lyndsey Crunk stood proudly as Gov. Matt Bevin signed HB-147, also known as the Lyndsey Crunk Act.
Crunk, Georgetown, was diagnosed with Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy in August 2014.
On Wednesday, three years worth of work came together to create the first law of its kind in the country, helping school personnel become “seizure smart,” according to the Epilepsy Foundation Kentuckiana.
“[HB-147] means people are going to be safe in schools, and that people are going to start talking about epilepsy more and more,” Lyndsey said.
“When [Lyndsey’s] started out, she was having jerks. And you know, she was 12 at the time, so I’m like ‘It’s probably just her hormones. I twitch every now and then,’” Lyndsey’s mother, Cyndi Crunk said. “It kept getting worse, so we went to the pediatrician. She listened to her symptoms, and said ‘I believe she’s having some type of seizure activity.’”
From there she dealt with a series of challenges, from the seizures themselves, to depression, anxiety and bullying.
Despite this, Lyndsey did everything she could to be an advocate. She planned an Epilepsy awareness day at Scott County Middle School in 2015. She was also named Teens Speak Up Ambassador in 2017.
“Her friends have been supportive, but it’s hard. Sometimes she doesn’t feel like she fits in, because she’s different,” Cyndi said.
Lyndsey has had to deal with people not always knowing what to do to help, but this legislation will help, Cyndi said.
HB-147, sponsored by Rep. Mark Hart, R-Falmoth, will require school personnel to complete a one hour seizure recognition and first aid response training. It will also require a “seizure action plan” signed by the treating physician to be part of the student’s file and it will be available for school personnel and volunteers responsible for the student.
The law will also require any FDA approved medication to be administered to the student with an epilepsy or seizure disorder as prescribed by their physician. Schools will be required to comply by the end of the 2018-19 school year.
“This is going to bring epilepsy out of the shadows,” Cyndi said. “People are just going to start talking about it.”
While the Lyndsey Crunk Act is a major milestone, Lyndsey and her family are working on an amendment to the act. They want for students to be able to help and learn about epilepsy as well.
“The one piece that we didn’t get in this session — we had a student piece in it, but we didn’t get that. Which is fine, because this is a start and this is great, but we want to start educating the students as well,” Cyndi said. “Maybe implementing it would be in a health class or something. We’re not asking for a whole class, or a whole hour. Just touching on it, so kids will know what to do.”
Lyndsey and her family want all students and school personnel to know what to do when someone is having a seizure. To them, that is what truly will make schools “seizure smart.”
Simone Mcavoy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.