Walk to End Epilepsy in honor of Sam Watkins draws people from all over Texas

Walk to End Epilepsy in honor of Sam Watkins draws people from all over Texas

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - A law recently passed in Texas requires public school employees to be trained in seizure recognition and response.

The law is called “Sam’s Law” and was named after Samantha Watkins — a Kilgore high school student who died after complications from a seizure.

The Epilepsy Foundation of Texas hosted a Walk to End Epilepsy in Tyler Saturday morning in honor of Sam Watkins and despite the heat, it was a big success.

“I’m very honored the turnout was as good as it was,” said Shari Dudo, the driving force behind Sam’s Law. "I know it’s hot but this just shows the commitment [of] people to support the epilepsy foundation and to use their voice to help end epilepsy. I’m so thankful to everyone who showed up and participated today.”

The one-mile walk was supported by vendors with information about epilepsy and healthcare options.

“To be able to get education and focus on something good surrounding epilepsy, our family wanted to get involved so we drove from Dallas so we could be here,” said Heather Chatwin, whose two-year-old daughter, Harlynn has epilepsy.

Chatwin said she and her family have been following Sam’s Law for quite some time.

“To know that I can send her to school and nurses and teachers will be trained on what to look for and what to do,” said Chatwin. “So many people don’t know what to do when they see someone having a seizure, so I’m grateful I can send her to school when she turns five in three years and know that they’ll be trained and know what to do because that’s scary.”

Representative Travis Clardy, who authored Sam’s Law, was at the walk today. He said he’s proud the bill is now being used to help other states as well.

“When we started working on the bill, we realized this could really bare some fruits in unexpected ways and big ways,” said Clardy. “In the legislature, we say all the time, Texans lead, that’s what we do. We’re one of those states that other states look to for leadership; to provide policy and good legislation to be picked up and used in other places. So I’m not surprised this is happening but I’m particularly gratified it’s out in other states; New Jersey, Kentucky. So its really proving to be what we always hoped it would be and that is to raise awareness for this important condition.”

The Epilepsy Foundation said the walk in Tyler will become an annual event.

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