Elijah Speaks Up About Hydrocephalus!

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By Elijah Lawrence

I was diagnosed with hydrocephalus before I was born. When I was four days old, I had my first shunt put in. Since then, I have had four revisions, but I have had my current shunt for five years. I am treated at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington D.C. I have been very lucky because I have encountered very few barriers despite having hydrocephalus. I love to sing, act, and dance. I also love to write and play with my friends and dogs. Most of these activities are not limited by my hydrocephalus. One of the most memorable moments of my childhood was singing “Wonderful World” at the Hydrocephalus Convention in Baltimore, MD in 2006. Since then, I have had the honor of singing the National Anthem to open the U.S. Tennis Open in New York, and at the 56th Presidential Inaugural Concert. I also just sang the National Anthem at the 1st Hydrocephalus Walk in Washington D.C.

To other people living with hydrocephalus, my advice would be to not let it limit your imagination of what you can do and be. My parents have also told me that everybody is dealing with something and we are just dealing with hydrocephalus. It is important to let people know the details about hydrocephalus in order to raise awareness, prevent further cases, and maybe find a cure. But, at the same time, it is important not to let it define all of who you are.

7 Comments for : Elijah Speaks Up About Hydrocephalus!
    • thomas
    • February 8, 2012
    Reply

    Elijah – I know how hydrocephalus can have a big impact on ur life, but never let it get in the way of your life. my friend right now has hydrocephalus and I know, its tough! but just believe that everything will turn out for the best πŸ™‚

    -Thomas πŸ™‚

    • chris fenstermacher
    • December 23, 2011
    Reply

    my son lives in los altos calif.;he has had 3 shunts this year for adult acquired hydrocephalus;he is 38 y.o.and we are hoping to talk to anyone who has had these issues and now he must look to the future.thank you, chris

    • Betty-Lou Jones
    • December 15, 2011
    Reply

    Hello from Maine! I am 79 years old and have been diagnosed with NPH for about 8 years. I recently have been having difficulty with balance when walking, and sometimes can’t remember names. I think it is time for me to have a shunt — any comments about the procedure, is it OK at my age? Any of your thoughts would be welcome,

    • Michael LePuil
    • December 14, 2011
    Reply

    Elijah,
    Thanks for these wonderful words of encouragement to the hydrocephalus community, and congratulations on your great achievements.
    I have adopted the same philosophy in my life.
    After being diagnosed with communicating hydrocephalus at 3 month old, in 1977 in France, following a meningitis infection, I was shunted with a VP shunt. I was fine until 1983, when several issues (pressure, blockage) arose, and I had 4 revisions that year. Subsequently, I lived the rest of my childhood pretty much normally, withe the wonderful help of my mom, who happened to be a nurse, and taught me to rise above the condition, lead a normal life, and shoot for my dreams and beyond. While not allowed to play sports, my schooling was normal, and I graduated from HS on time with honors, got accepted in the highly selective engineering track through very competitive prep school. My love of writing and traveling lead me to create the HS newspapers, and being part of an enduring project that sent me to the Winter Olympics In Lillehammer, Norway to produce a video documentary. I got a MS in Environmental Engineering, and a Masters of Advanced Study in Water Chemistry and Microbiology, and decided to go for the doctorate… In the US. I moved to Orlando in 2001, got my Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering in 2004, followed by amazing years of academic research. I’m also fluent in French, English, and German. I live now in Sterling, VA, married to a wonderful woman, and I’m the happy Dad of amazing and healthy twin boys.
    I never let headaches or the condition stigmatize me, and as you can see, the sky is the limit when you believe in yourself.
    I hope these words, not intended to brag, show that hydro is not the end of a journey but only the beginning. It did make me mature faster than most, and I’m stronger thanks to it. I also know how lucky I am, and that not everyone will be able to lead the type of life I live, but it never hurts to try.
    I would love to meet you in person, since we live close by to each other, and do more for the hydro community.
    Keep it up!
    Michael

    • maggie egger
    • December 14, 2011
    Reply

    Wonderful!

    • Jennifer R. Ewing
    • December 13, 2011
    Reply

    Elijah,

    Steve and I loved hearing you sing “Some Enchanted Evening” in…Cleveland, was it? You have a wonderful career ahead of you!

    Your mom is a very special lady. I look forward to seeing her again, and meeting your dad, next year in Bethesda!

    • Dizzy
    • December 13, 2011
    Reply

    Elijah
    It’s wonderful to hear and see you sing! My 3-year-old had an ETV at 10.5 months and it’s great for him to have a role model like yourself. πŸ™‚

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