Multi-daily childhood seizures didn’t stop student

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Nick Rue may seem like your average UNF sophomore — he plays drums and baseball and enjoys telling jokes — but his childhood was far from usual.Though he lived in Jacksonville since he was 11 years old, Rue was born in New Hampshire. From the day he was born, he experienced up to 30 seizures per day and 20 more throughout the night.

“It was like a horror movie,” Rue said. “I just kept praying to God, asking, ‘Come on, God, what’s your next move?’”

Over the next five years, Rue’s parents would take him to seven different hospitals and put him on 15 different medications to help treat his seizures, but nothing worked. Rue had to wait until age 6 for his doctor to perform brain surgery.

“My parents were told by the doctor that their son may have brain damage after the surgery, and they took that,” Rue said. “It cost me my left hand; it’s disabled, but it doesn’t matter. It was worth it.”

The day of his surgery, Rue’s head was shaved, and what he refers to as “brain stickers” were glued sparingly over his scalp.

Though brain surgery can be a traumatic experience for any child, Rue’s life was changed forever.

“After the surgery,” he said, “I never had a seizure again.”

Now able to live a normal, healthy life, Rue discovered an interest in playing the drums. Despite a disabled left arm, he still played drums in his former Christian metal band, Saints of War.

Rue said the music he listens to and plays is a dedication to God for helping him get through his surgery and move on with his life.

If Rue looks or sounds familiar to you, you may recognize him from his former live music show on Osprey Radio, where he broadcast some of his favorite death metal bands.

At UNF, he’s in the On-Campus Transition Program, which aims to provide students who have disabilities with transition services in their collegiate life. Rue is motivated to get his degree and nab a job.

“I would love to be a Navy SEAL to help protect our country,” Rue said. “I’d have to deal with someone yelling in my face at a boot camp for a week, but I could do it.”

Rue is just one example of someone we pass by on campus who has more to them than meets the eye. He is passionate about learning and wants to spread a positive message to everyone around him about those who have bigger obstacles to overcome.

“Just because you are handicapped doesn’t mean you can’t do anything right,” Rue said. “You have to challenge yourself and push yourself to the limit.”