Nick Wilde, son of Jamie and Dana Wilde, was chosen as one of only 40 national winners of the 2010 Pfizer Epilepsy Scholarship Award. The $2,000 scholarship can be used for tuition, fees, books, or living expenses. More than 550 students with epilepsy from all over the United States applied this year. Pfizer is the world’s largest research-based pharmaceutical company and has a longs tan ding history in the development and delivery of pharmaceuticals that help people with various health issues. The Pfizer Epilepsy Scholarship program is designed to assist students who are challenged with the seizure disorder with the expenses of higher education. Applicants must provide several letters of recommendation, a doctor’s recommendation, write an essay, as well as provide evidence of academic achievement and community involvement.
Nick was barely 12 years old when he had his first grand-mal seizure, one so severe that it left him unconscious and not breathing. After an ambulance ride to the hospital and several seizures later, he was diagnosed with epilepsy. During the first few months after being diagnosed, Nick dealt with annoying seizure activity, such as spontaneous vomiting, while the doctors tried to regulate his anti-seizure medication. He was afraid to go to sleep because his grand-mal seizures happened at night and left him lethargic for days. Perhaps his greatest challenge, however, was when the doctor told him that he had to give up most of the sports he had loved playing because a head injury could increase the risk of permanent and continual seizures. Nick did get his doctors to finally allow him to play soccer as long as he avoided heading the ball during his middle school years. He attempted to play football during high school as a kicker since he could mostly avoid contact, but the lack of experience left him unable to contribute to the team. Nick then turned to the doctor approved sport of tennis in high school. He excelled in that sport playing 1st singles as a junior and senior.
Another challenge of having epilepsy was the side effects of Nick’s medication. Although it prevents seizures, it also left Nick tired and somewhat apathetic. Despite these obstacles, Nick was able to maintain a 3.9 GPA while taking some of the most challenging classes offered including Calculus, Chemistry, and Physics. He completed all the requirements to also receive the Utah Regents Scholarship which requires a heavy course load of Math, Science, English, and History during all four years of high school including a full year of Foreign Language. Nick will use the scholarships at Utah State University this fall where he will major in Computer Engineering. He will attend a full year of school before leaving for an LDS mission in the spring.