Carmel girl, 13, has part of brain removed to fight epilepsy

Quarter of brain removed during surgery

CARMEL, Ind. - One Carmel family went to extremes to claim their lives back from epilepsy.

Grace Hardwick, 13, has missed out on many events and experiences that normal teens get to have.

Since she was a baby, Hardwick has had up to 15 seizures a day.

She couldn't go swimming without a life vest in case she had a seizure, and since lack of sleep can trigger them, a strict 8 p.m. bedtime had to be enforced.

"To me, I was kind of sad a little. I saw other people doing stuff way later and I'm here at my house doing nothing, just going to sleep," she said.

Medication after medication failed as her mom and dad watched helplessly.

"When she jumped in the swimming pool, she went into a seizure. One day she was getting on the bus, went into a seizure. Went into church; a seizure," her father, Steve Hardwick, said. "At any time she could go into a seizure and that's why you always felt on edge."

To get their lives back, the Hardwick's made a difficult decision.

In October, they let surgeons at The Cleveland Clinic remove part of Grace's brain, but not a small part, a quarter of it -- the entire right, frontal lobe.

"Since I had surgery, I haven't had any seizures yet," Grace Hardwick said.

Her mother said there had never been a time in Grace’s life where she had been seizure-free for nine months.

For the first time, Grace was able to start a new school year seizure-free and she was able to enjoy her summer.

She went to amusement parks, the Indiana State Fair and her very first concert.

"We went to see Big Time Rush in concert. It was awesome," Hardwick said. "When I was watching them, I thought to myself, 'I can't believe my eyes that I'm seeing this right now.'"

Her parents agreed they were just happy to sit back and watch their daughter feel normal.

Staying normal means Hardwick will someday drive a car, and her parents can stop worrying about epilepsy every minute of the day. 

The Cleveland Clinic specializes in removing the part of the brain that causes seizures, and many tests were conducted to make sure that Hardwick was a good candidate for the surgery.

The Hardwick family said they were happy to share Grace’s story to let other families know the option does exist.

Follow Tanya Spencer on Twitter: @tanyaspencer6 | Facebook: Tanya Spencer

Print this article Back to Top