Ryan (left) and Sammy (right) pose for a picture
Written by Savannah Norton
First-year K12 International Academy (iCademy) students Sammy and Ryan Buggle never stop chasing their dreams, no matter what life throws at them. While 6-year-old Ryan is building his acting resume, his 12-year-old sister, Sammy, is making vlogs for her YouTube channel.
Janine Buggle, the children’s mother, decided to enroll Sammy and Ryan in iCademy after Ryan’s acting career took off. “The online school provides us with the flexibility we need as a family to travel to both coasts for him to work as an actor without missing school days,” she said.
Sammy is just like other seventh grader, although at just three years old, she was diagnosed with generalized absence epilepsy. As she has gotten older, her seizures have increased to over 100 a day, and her family is still trying to find the right medication to control them.
Janine explains that iCademy has been amazing for Sammy. “In brick and mortar schools she couldn’t keep up because of her seizures,” she said. “The school put her in pull-out classes and she encountered tons of bullying. We love that she can work at her own pace, and if she is ever having a day that she isn’t feeling well, she can communicate with her teachers and adjust her lessons.”
Sammy was also diagnosed with Sunflower Syndrome, which means she has extreme sensitivity to the light and sun. “It is very rare and has little research - we are hoping to change that,” Janine said. “She has been on over 10 different medications and still we haven’t found the answer.”
This began the “Overcoming Epilepsy with Sammy” campaign, and since then, Sammy has been on TV and featured in articles, and she is an activist on the Epilepsy Foundation of America website.
Sammy turned to making videos as a way to share her story with others. “Sammy decided herself at