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Balloon launch scheduled to support teen battling seizures

By Kim Walter -- kwalter@nvdaily.com

Though he won't be in attendance, a balloon launch is taking place Thursday night in Strasburg to support 14-year-old Sammy Deck.

Sammy was diagnosed with epilepsy in early 2011, and later on in the same year was diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy. All conditions affect his nervous system, and the most recent diagnoses are longterm illnesses with no known cure.

Sammy is allergic to most seizure medicines, and instead is treated with immunoglobulin therapy through an IV. He receives treatments periodically with five bags at a time, each bag costing about $8,000.

His family lived in Strasburg until last year, when they moved to Wardensville, W.Va., "due to financial burdens from his illness," said family friend Julie Smith.

Smith said Sammy has been at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville the past week, and his family is thinking about bringing him home and bringing in care for him there.

Lisa Seal, who organized the balloon launch, said "things are not looking well for him."

Sammy's favorite colors are those of the Pittsburgh Steelers -- black and yellow -- so those are the colors of the balloons that will be released.

Seal said she and her mother have close to 150 balloons to give out, but those who attend are welcome to bring more. She is also making T-shirts, and said a few preachers will speak at the event.

The launch will take place at the Church of the Valley at 2128 John Marshall Highway in Strasburg at 7 p.m. The gathering isn't so much about donations as it is about prayer and support for Sammy and his family, Seal said.

Donations to help Sammy can be made to a fund the family set up through First Bank in Strasburg.


As an epileptic myself I know what an impact the disease has had on my life, but to have Guillain Barre Syndrome as well as the epilepsy must be an incredible challenge. My thoughts and prayers are going to be with Sammy and his family and I'll call my pastor and get him added to our prayer list. I may not be able to attend the balloon launch in person, but just in case the family or their friends see this, it says in the Bible that if two or more agree it shall be done. Peace be with Sammy and his family!

Although I am sorry to hear about Sammy's condition I have to ask, is there no other way to raise funds or awareness? A balloon release, although pretty for a couple of minutes, is very environmentaly unfriendly and harmfull to all kinds of wildlife.

Whack-a-hippie.....much like whack-a-mole.

Can I have a mallet Rusty? SMH!!!

It looks like the ‘walk-on-water-Jesus-factor’ isn’t working. Obviously everybody, including Tea Party evangelical fundamentalists wishing to impeach the current President, are not praying hard enough, otherwise wouldn’t the kid be healed already? But the warm/fuzzy balloon launch self-flagellation and absolution ceremony will make the failed prayers proof the magical bearded man who lives in the sky and grants wishes works in mysterious ways, preferring to burn images on pieces of toast in lieu of healing terminally sick little kids. Once again prayers prove worthless except for wasting time proudly pursuing meaningless rituals.

Steelers? How about them Redskins?

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