Recently, Andy received a phone call from Tom and Nadia Davies. Andy really likes them, so when they asked him if there was some way I could publish their inspirational story about their daughter’s courageous battle with epilepsy how could I refuse?
They wrote the following Email to us, and I am more than happy to pass on their story to our readers.
A great deal has been written about Nina since her passing. I have selected some information that we have and perhaps your Dad can pull it together to write a short piece for your newsletter.
Here is a web site for Nina. It is not complete, but there should be some information that you can use.
You might also ask your Dad to skim through the book that you have called “Nina, A Story of Uncommon Courage”.
Our daughter Alfonsina “Nina” Davies lives on as a beacon of hope and inspiration for patients and families to rise above their disabilities such as epilepsy. At her defining 13th birthday, the first grand mal seizure struck while she was swimming in our pool with her friends. Her father jumped in to save her. Almost overnight, her friends disappeared and so did ours. Despite her secret battle with epilepsy, Nina rose from the shadows of her seizures to become a teacher who inspired special needs and troubled students to overcome their disabilities and achieve their dreams. She believed and taught each person deserves an equal chance to succeed.
Today, I can clearly recall the happiest moment of my life in 1977 when Dr. Paul Crandall, Neurosurgeon at UCLA, asked the nurse to remove the railings from my daughter’s hospital bed. Since her birth, we lived in daily and nightly fear of the next seizure until that day when Dr. Crandall saved our daughter from a life worse than death. She was nearly 17 and we started a new chapter. It felt like a rebirth for all of us, my daughter, Nina, my husband Thomas, and me.
As I watched the rails come down, I envisioned the curse of epilepsy vanishing from my daughter’s life. I believe sharing our stories brings us comfort and inspiration. Sometimes you can be surrounded by a room full of people and still very feel alone. You’re not alone. We’ve created this tribute website in honor of our daughter’s spirit of determination to share the challenges that brought us to that moment and the achievements that followed. I wrote a memoir [“Nadia, a Survivor’s Storylthat explores in depth our journey and all the proceeds will go to Nina’s legacy.
In Nina’s memory, we have committed $2 million to establish the [Dr. Alfonsina Q. Davies Endowed Chair in honor of Paul Crandall, M.D. for Epilepsy Research] in the Department of Neurosurgery at UCLA. The endowed chair will be awarded to a preeminent physician-scientist with a history of creativity, innovation, and the willingness to solve old problems in new ways. I’m happy to say hundreds of children and adults have been cured of epilepsy worldwide with the surgical techniques and technology innovated at UCLA. We chose to honor Dr. Crandall’s pioneering work that helped Nina and led to UCLA’s position as a world- leader in the surgical treatment of epilepsy. With Nina’s Chair at UCLA, we hope that other individuals and families suffering from epilepsy will be able to take down the rails on the bed like us, no longer live in silence but instead thrive in a future without epilepsy.