Statement made on 28 March 2012 by Senator George Furey
Hon. George J. Furey: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak about a remarkable and courageous young man, a fellow Newfoundlander and Labradorian, named Luke Noftall. At the age of 12, Luke was an accomplished student and athlete. He was also, at this age, diagnosed with epilepsy. As colleagues know, this chronic disorder affecting the central nervous system is caused by a malfunction of the electrical signals that control the operation of the brain. This condition can and does negatively affect the learning and social growth of our children, and this condition presents challenges to the health, well-being and self-esteem of youth like Luke. For years, Luke has struggled with this condition, a struggle that completely changed his young life. He has faced this struggle with courage and resilience. He has undergone countless procedures and spent far too much of his young life in hospitals.
In a recent letter to Premier Dunderdale, Luke said:
Four years ago, I underwent a major brain resection; three brain surgeries in five days. Twenty-one days in the hospital plus months of rehab, and still my seizures continued. I do not remember much of that year.
Today, at age 19, Luke is a student at Memorial University. His amazing courage and determination will not allow this chronic neurological disorder to stop him. With the support and love of his very caring family, Luke continues to face the tremendous burden of dealing with this every day.
Honourable senators, March 26 marked World Epilepsy Awareness Day, a day dedicated to increasing awareness about epilepsy worldwide and a day to shed light on courageous individuals like Luke, who is the Epilepsy Ambassador for Newfoundland and Labrador. As long as we have young people in Canada who, like Luke, are determined to succeed no matter what obstacles they face, we can all continue to have great hope for the future.
Honourable senators, please join me in recognizing the outstanding courage and determination of Luke Noftall and the 300,000 Canadians who deal with epilepsy on a daily basis.