Dalton Richey was diagnosed with a form of childhood epilepsy in 2006. Immediately after his diagnosis, the fifth grader shut all of his friends out of his life and quit playing baseball. Dalton didn’t know how to explain his condition to others and thought it would be better if he just stayed home and didn’t burden anyone with his problem.
His family could see that life had become very lonely for Dalton, so his mom reached out to the Epilepsy Foundation of Texas and found out they were having a Stroll for Epilepsy. Dalton attended his first Stroll in 2008, changing his life forever.
Dalton discovered there were a lot of people just like him in the U.S. There was even a camp that kids with seizure disorders could attend. In 2008 Dalton attended his very first summer camp, Camp Spike ‘n’ Wave, and came back a completely different child. The first thing he said to his parents when they picked him up after the week-long camp was, “I am going to be a counselor someday!” Dalton did just that. Three years later he became a junior counselor and the next year he was a camp counselor. Dalton has been a head counselor for the past two summers and is hoping to be assistant director of the camp next year.
Dalton discovered at camp that there was nothing that he couldn’t do, including sports. He decided in eighth grade that he wanted to play football and with the approval of his neurologist, he was able to do so. Dalton didn’t stop with football – he joined the track team in eighth grade as well. Dalton competed in both sports through junior high and high school, earning a varsity letter in both.
Dalton believes epilepsy should never hold you back or keep your from fulfilling your dreams. In 2013, Dalton was angered by an article written about University of Minnesota head football coach Jerry Kill, who lives with seizures, and his ability to perform his job effectively. Dalton wanted to take a stand, so after his homecoming game, his mom took a picture of her son in his football uniform holding a sign stating, “My name is Dalton Richey and I have epilepsy. I stand with Coach Kill.” Little did he know that this sign would garner a great deal of attention and would even give him the chance to meet his hero, Coach Kill.
Dalton was selected by the Epilepsy Foundation to be a 2014 ambassador at the Teens Speak Up conference in Washington, D.C. He also received a UCB Epilepsy Scholarship. Dalton continues to raise money for his local Epilepsy Foundation in Texas and volunteers his time twice a year as a counselor at camps for children with epilepsy. He also volunteers at a local hospital. Dalton is currently enrolled in college and hopes to pursue a career in the medical field, preferably in neurology.