Six-year-old Izaiah Ruiz loves football, playing outside and riding on his great-grandfather’s tractor. He smiles and laughs all the time, and recently received the citizenship medal at his school for always jumping at the chance to help his classmates when they’re in trouble.
“He is the sweetest, most loving boy,” said his grandmother, Lori Fountain, who lives with Ruiz in Conroe, Texas. “If he sees a little boy or girl fall down, he will always ask them if they’re OK, with such sweet sincerity.” Ruiz has suffered from Dravet Syndrome, a debilitating disorder that can cause him to have more than 100 seizures a day, since he was 2 months old. He rides in a specially equipped stroller with an oxygen tank strapped to the back. He wears a brace on his right leg because the persistent convulsions have weakened that side of his body, and he wears a cooling vest when he plays outside so his body won’t overheat. Fountain, his legal guardian, sleeps beside him every night in case he has a seizure in his sleep.