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Joella Miller

Former Walla Walla High School student and cheerleader Joella Miller suddenly and unexpectedly began having seizures the night before her 16th birthday in August 2018, according to grandparents Jan and Fred Walker of Walla Walla. 

Then Tourette’s syndrome with physical motor tics began, Jan said. 

The cause has baffled professionals thus far. Almost a year later doctors from throughout the Northwest have not been able to treat Joella’s condition, Jan said.  

“She has been seen by six neurologists in three different hospitals here in Washington state and has had multiple trips to emergency rooms and stays in a Spokane hospital, Swedish Medical Center in Seattle and recently was transported via life flight to Seattle Children’s hospital after five continuous hours of seizure could not be treated locally.”  

Joella and parents Eric Miller of College Place and Sheri Miller of Pasco continue to seek a diagnosis and treatment so Joella can return to Chiawana High School in Pasco this fall for her senior year. She quit attending because her seizures disrupted other students. Trying to keep up, she continued her work online and had a tutor come to the house for math, Jan said.  

Joella’s goals include being able to drive, get a job someday and leave the house safely alone or with a trained Americans with Disabilities Act seizure dog.

The good news is the pediatric neurology group at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., has agreed to see Joella at the end of July for eight-10 days and a possible diagnosis, Jan said.

Even with insurance, bills are beginning to mount, Jan said. “The family is asking for your help. Flights, gas and hotel stays are things that insurance doesn’t cover.” 

Donations may be made to the For The Benefit of Joella Miller account at any Banner Bank branch. 

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or afternoons at 526-8313. 

Annie joined the U-B news staff in 1979 and since 1990 has written Etcetera, a daily community column. She was promoted to a copy editing post in 2007. She edits copy, designs and lays out pages, including the weekly arts and entertainment guide Marquee,