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UH doctors ensure Avon High School senior makes her graduation ceremony after having a seizure that morning

Shelby Kane Avon grad
Posted at 5:59 PM, Jun 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-16 11:51:45-04

AVON, Ohio  — On a Sunday in May, Shelby Kane, an Avon High School senior, was making sure everything was perfect as she prepared to walk the stage at her graduation ceremony—having her hair done, getting dressed and preparing to pose for photos on her big day.

But while she was getting ready for the ceremony, something happened that she hadn't dealt with in over 10 years. Shelby began talking very slowly and crying, just before she fell to the ground.

The soon-to-be grad had a seizure.

“We’re not sure what triggered the seizure,” said Robin Kane, Shelby’s mother. “But it may have been the excitement building up to the graduation ceremony.”

Shelby had a history of seizures but hadn't had one in over a decade.

After the scary moment, Shelby was taken to University Hospitals St. John Medical Center in Westlake, where she was born and where she was treated for the seizures she had as a child.

Ashley Spilker, one of the nurses at the hospital who treated Shelby, said that as soon as she saw Shelby she knew she should have been headed somewhere special.

“A seizure can be scary for anyone, but Shelby had heightened fear and anxiety. As I was talking with her to help her calm down, I noticed her beautiful dress and hair, and that’s when I found out it was her graduation day," Spilker said. "I knew then that we were going to get her to the ceremony on time or we were going to have a ceremony for her right there in the ED [Emergency Department].”

The team at UH treating Shelby began working quickly and efficiently to assess her, trying their hardest to make sure she had a chance to make it to her ceremony. Just in case, Samantha Loop, an LPN, went to a nearby store to buy Shelby a cake, flowers, balloons and a card.

While doing testing, Spilker sang one of Shelby's favorite songs with her to calm her nerves.

UH doctors ensure Avon High School senior makes her graduation ceremony after having a seizure that morning

Luckily, test results came back normal for Shelby and doctors started discussing options with her parents, deciding she was cleared to attend the ceremony that evening.

“With anti-seizure medication, and the eyes of her family on her constantly, we felt comfortable releasing Shelby, and her parents agreed,” said Dr. Carla O’Day.

Shelby's family went into overdrive, bringing her cap and gown to the hospital and helping, alongside UH staff, to finish getting Shelby ready for her big day.

As she was being discharged and headed out to try to make the official ceremony at Avon High School, UH staff lined the hallway as Shelby walked through while "Pomp and Circumstance" played in the background to honor her achievements.

UH doctors ensure Avon High School senior makes her graduation ceremony after having a seizure that morning

Thanks to the quick work and dedication of the UH staff, Shelby made it to the school for the ceremony just in time—receiving her diploma on stage alongside her friends and classmates.

“Everything lined up perfectly for us to be able to treat Shelby and discharge her quickly – a true team effort,” O’Day said. “It was a special day for Shelby and in turn, it was a special day for us.”

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