Thursday, February 26, 2004

Elder sophomore dies after seizure

By Denise Smith Amos
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Dennis Stemler

DELHI TWP. - For Dennis Stemler, a sophomore at Elder High School, it was important that his epilepsy and frequent seizures not slow him down.

The 15-year-old Delhi Township youth played intramural basketball at Elder and tried out for the volleyball team. Though the medicine he took to fight his seizures slowed him down, he worked hard and got good grades.

But Tuesday night, as his mother, Debbie, was filling a prescription for him for a new medication, Dennis suffered a seizure at home and died.

Dennis' seizures started when he was 2 1/2 years old. A variety of medications kept him seizure-free for one six-month period. But with the onset of puberty, the seizures returned, his mother said.

Dennis was a model brother to his two younger sisters, Nicci and Becky, friends and family members said.

"He always had a smile. ... He was happy to be alive and just exuded that," said Rev. Jim Walsh, pastor at St. Dominic Church. "He was an inspiration. I really admired him."

Visitation is 5-8 today at Vitt Stermer & Anderson Funeral Home, 4619 Delhi Road. Mass will be said noon Friday at St. Dominic Church, 4551 Delhi Pike.

The family requests that memorials go to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Ave., Cincinnati 45229-3026; or Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Cincinnati, 895 Central Ave, Cincinnati 45202.


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