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Movement Disorders and Epilepsy Patient Stories

Our stories below profile some of the patients who came to UPMC for brain surgery.

Amanda Gennaro: Hypothalamic Hamartoma

Amanda Genarro has long brown hair. It is side swept and blowing in the wind. She wears dangling pearl earrings. She is smiling.

Suffering from seizures since childhood, 21-year-old Amanda became the first patient in western Pennsylvania to have a Hypothalamic Hamartoma removed using laser thermal ablation.

Read Amanda Gennaro's story

David Smith: Parkinson's Disease

David Smith walking the bride down the aisle. He wears a suit with a yellow flower and a purple tie. He has a moustache and is bald. He looks very happy.

Suffering from severe Parkinson's disease symptoms, David was able to find hope - and relief - through asleep deep brain stimulation at UPMC.

Read David Smith's story

Jessica McCoy: Epilepsy

Jessica sits in her wheelchair in front of a garden with a floral sculpture in the shape of a butterfly. Her husband James hugs her. She wears a bright t-shirt with red, orange, green and blue stripes.

Jessica struggled with seizures for over 20 years and turned to UPMC for care.

Read Jessica McCoy's story

Merissa Fitzpatrick: Epilepsy

Merissa wears a black and white floral print dress and a black cardigan. She has red earrings and a red necklace. She has short brown hair and wears glasses. She stands with her husband who wears a blue suit and blue tie.

In 2013, Merissa had her first grand mal epileptic seizure. After moving to Pittsburgh a few years later, she turned to UPMC for care.

Read Merissa Fitzpatrick's story

Michael Albers: Epilepsy

Michael Albers wears a black collared button up shirt. He has glasses and brown hair. He is standing outside.

Michael's goal was to live a seizure-free life. Learn how he achieved his goal with treatment at UPMC.

Read Michael Albers's story

Karen Kurtz: Epilepsy

Karen wears a blue printed collared shirt that has butterfly details. Her hair is cropped short and is brown. She is smiling enthusiastically.

Karen’s seizures were interfering with her life, and they weren’t being controlled by medication alone. UPMC’s cutting-edge robotic diagnostic device allowed expert physicians to find the origin of her seizures and stop them.

Read Karen Kurtz's story

Karen Larson: Essential Tremor

A woman is resting her chin on her hand. She wears two rings on her ring and pinky finger. She has long silver hair. She wears a green blouse that has a flower trim.

When uncontrolled shaking from essential tremor caused this art teacher to put down her brush, the experts at UPMC recommended DBS to help restore her passion.

Read Karen Larson's story

Sam Cooper: Epilepsy

He has short brown hair. He wears a black suit with a white tuxedo shirt and a white tie.

With a fear of not knowing when another seizure would strike, Sam and his family sought the help of epilepsy surgery experts at UPMC.

Read Sam Cooper's story

Tim Liebrock: Adult Epilepsy

A man in a green shirt poses for a picture hugging a woman. He wears a green t-shirt and jeans. He has brown hair. She has black hair, glasses, and wears a white, red, and yellow hoodie.

When this college student was diagnosed with epilepsy, surgery to remove a portion of his brain responsible for the seizures helped get back his life.

Read Tim Liebrock's story

Toni Pais: Parkinson's Disease

He wears a polo shirt that has green and black stripes. He has on a yellow baseball cap. He is smiling. A woman with round glasses and blonde hair poses with him for the picture.

When this renowned chef’s life was drastically changed after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, he turned to the experts at UPMC for treatment.

Read Toni Pais's story

Timothy Braun: Epilepsy

Timothy’s life changed forever when he experienced his first grand mal seizure in 2014. After moving to Pittsburgh a few years later, he turned to UPMC for care.

Read Timothy Braun's story