GPS Guide: John Olson, Who Has Epilepsy, Shares The Inspiration That Helps Him Climb Mountains

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John Olson, 24, has a love of the outdoors and a passion for mountain climbing. But unlike other mountain climbers, John has been living with severe epilepsy since he was four years old. For most of John’s life, climbing was nearly impossible due to the frequent seizures he experienced.

But at 22, John learned of Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) Therapy, a small pacemaker-like device that sends pulses to the brain reducing seizure activity. Since then, John has gained better control of his epilepsy. Determined not to be limited by his condition, today, he is an avid mountain climber and has scaled eight 14,000 foot peaks in Colorado. In his GPS Guide below, find the inspiration that keeps John climbing and living life to the fullest.

John Olson's GPS Guide

John Olson and his father Tom have worked with others, including world-class climber Eric Alexander, to help raise awareness of epilepsy. John has climbed with Eric and Higher Summits as well as Outdoor Mindset, organizations seeking to inspire people affected by neurological challenges or other disabilities through a common passion for the outdoors. John also started a hiking club for people with epilepsy, Colorado Climbers for Epilepsy.

Often, when John reaches the summit on a climb, he places the names of people living with epilepsy in a capsule to bring them on his climb in spirit, and to serve as a symbol of awareness and support. By sharing his story John hopes to inspire others living with medical conditions to live life to the fullest.

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