She’s been dubbed the real-life sleeping beauty!
Emily Rowland, from Georgia, US, suffers from severe epilepsy, which causes her to have “staring spells” and fall into a deep sleep for days on end.
Because of her condition, the teenager was forced to give up school two years ago and she can no longer compete in pageants.
The 16-year-old has been hospitalised hundreds of times and hasn’t slept alone for the past eight years.
Her mom, Brandi (42), is now her full-time carer and says it’s “difficult to put into words” how scary living with the condition is for her daughter.
“When Emily was younger she started to complain of really bad headaches,” Brandi says.
“She started to get really sleepy. Emily had always suffered on road trips but we thought it was normal car sickness.
“It was only with hindsight that we now recognise that these things were all connected.
“Emily began missing more school. Some days we could just not wake her.
Tests confirmed that Emily had epilepsy. “It’s hard to put into words how scary it is,” Brandy said.
Emily began complaining of severe headaches from a young age. After being diagnosed with epilepsy eight years ago, the teen now also has a form of dementia as a result of her constant sneezing.
Brandi says the condition has meant Emily lost some friends – but she did get to enjoy prom with her boyfriend, IV Hickam (17).
IV even calls his Emily “sleeping beauty”.
“It makes everyday activities so hard. Just trying to get make-up on is tricky – things that other teenage girls do every day with ease,” Emily says.
"My mom has to do it because I can’t stay awake. I don’t have the coordination to do it due to the seizing either.
“The condition also makes getting dressed difficult. There’s a video of me literally falling asleep standing up trying to get ready in the morning.
“It happens in restaurants when I’m out with my boyfriend or family. It happened at school. My mom has footage of me holding my school books as I struggled to stay awake heading out to class.
“The fact that my whole life, every aspect of it, has been disrupted and my ability to go to school and learn and be an active teenager has been taken away, is most upsetting.”
Sources: Magazine Features