Trysten J. Pearson was born in Houston, Texas, in July 2001. His story of epilepsy begins with a diagnosis of Grand Mal/Tonic Clonic - Myoclonic - Absence Seizures and a heart condition, Sinus Arrhythmia, at age 12 in August 2013 while visiting family in Huntsville, Texas. After his diagnosis, he found that having epilepsy was not easy to talk about with others which left him feeling alone and excluded. After spending three weeks in the hospital and being told to hide his condition to keep from being held back in life, he and his mother decided it was time to make a difference by raising awareness. It was time to speak up and tackle epilepsy together!
In February 2014, Trysten became one of the co-founders of the Galveston County Epilepsy Awareness Support Group, in partnership with the Epilepsy Foundation Texas, Houston/Dallas-Fort Worth/West Texas. Trysten realized he is not alone, but is 1 in 26 in the United States that will develop epilepsy and found that about 1 out of 10 people may have a seizure during his or her lifetime.
By October of that same year, at age 13, he established the UTMB Epilepsy Fund at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB-Health) in Galveston, Texas. This fund supports Dr. Todd Masel’s Epilepsy Program in the Department of Neurology. Trysten hopes to someday see Galveston County build a Pediatric Epilepsy Monitoring Unit so that children do not have to travel outside the county for this service.
With November being “National Epilepsy Awareness Month”, he worked with the city of Galveston on a 2014 proclamation from the mayor to recognize this special month of awareness.
As an epilepsy advocate, Trysten has delivered, well over 50 presentations since his diagnosis through his Boy Scout Troop 192 - Galveston on First Aid in Epilepsy.
- May, 2015 - Galveston County Lemonade Day Business of the Year recipient, donating 100 percent of his $1,000 profit to epilepsy programs
- November, 2015 - Danny Did Foundation grant recipient to attend Epilepsy Awareness Day Disneyland, California
- In 2015, Texas passed the Compassionate-Use Act, which allowed the first legal use of low-THC cannabis products in the state for patients with intractable epilepsy. It was expanded in 2019 and 2021 to include other conditions.
- April, 2016 - Teens Speak Up! Texas Representative and Conference Speaker, selected by the Epilepsy Foundation of America and the Epilepsy Foundation Texas - Houston, hosted in Washington, D.C.
- Sessions with Congressman Randy Weber, Representative Judge Ted Poe, Senator John Cornyn and Senator Ted Cruz
- May, 2016 - Galveston County Lemonade Day Business of the Year recipient, donating 100 percent of his $1,500 profit to epilepsy programs
- June, 2016 - George P. Mitchell Ethics Award recipient and recognition by the Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce, in Galveston, Texas
- November, 2016 - Through presentations at City Council Meetings, established 4 proclamations for National Epilepsy Awareness Month in collaboration with city mayors within Galveston County: City of Texas City, Hitchcock, Friendswood and League City.
- November, 2017 - La Marque City Council Meeting, Mayor Bobby Hocking established TRYSTEN PEARSON DAY and a City of La Marque proclamation for National Epilepsy Awareness Month
- March, 2018 - Featured on K-TOR Radio Program "Talk Time with Mr. T" at Ball High School (ktorthetornado.com) on Thursday afternoons with Media Arts Director, Mike Dudas, covering teen questions, medical topics, and sharing the challenges of Epilepsy.
- April, 2018 - Trysten is one of the first epilepsy patients in Texas to try CBD to control tonic-clonic seizures. In 2015, Texas passed the Compassionate-Use Act, which allowed the first legal use of low-THC cannabis products in the state for patients with intractable epilepsy. It was expanded in 2019 and 2021 to include other conditions. For information on the The Texas Compassionate Use Act (Senate Bill 339), visit: www.dps.texas.gov/RSD/CUP
- November, 2018 - Featured on Vinyl Draught Program "Thrive Life Radio" with Amy Gernaat and the Epilepsy Foundation Texas Program Director, Rebecca Monroe
- December, 2018 - Served as a Sam's Law Advocate and helped to pass House Bill 684 by working with Rep. Mayes Middleton and Senator Larry Taylor in Galveston County. Sam's Law (HB 684) requires all Texas public school personnel whose duties include regular contact with students to be trained in seizure recognition and seizure first aid. Learn more at SamsLaw.org
- February, 2019 - Ambassador with the Epilepsy Foundation SUDEP Institute, raising awareness of Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy, recruited by Senior Director, Mrs. Sally Schaeffer
- February, 2019 - BSA Court of Honor: Life Scout Award Recipient. Life is the second-highest rank attainable in Boy Scouts. Only four percent of Boy Scouts are granted this rank after a lengthy review process. The requirements necessary to achieve this rank take years to fulfill.
- May, 2019 - Eagle Scout Award Recipient. Project: As a Galveston Ball High School Media Arts Student, Trysten directed a Seizure First Aid Video - produced by Kids for Kids - available on his website and social media to teach seizure first aid and raise awareness of epilepsy. Since 1912, the Eagle Scout rank has represented a milestone of accomplishment—perhaps without equal—that is recognized across the country and even the world. Those who have earned the Eagle Scout rank count it among their most treasured achievements.
- September, 2019 - At age 18, Founded Gulf Coast Epilepsy Alliance, a 501(c)3 charitable organization that provides direct services to individuals with seizure disorders and those touched by epilepsy. GCEA's mission is committed to working for and meeting the needs of people with epilepsy, their families and their caretakers in the Gulf Coast areas of Texas. Learn more at gceatx.org.
- And the list keeps growing...
The Galveston Daily News Article by Doreen Hughes on 09.07.2019
The Galveston Daily News Article on 12.24.2019
The Post Newspaper Article on 09.26.2020
The Galveston Daily News – Seaside Scenes by Carla Peoples on 11.13.2020
Trysten has a heart as big as Texas with a great passion to help others and wants you to know that, regardless of epilepsy, he will always enjoy his love of international travel, bowling, fishing, camping and sailing.
Epilepsy will never slow him down as he travels and sails through life!