Success Circuit

Chris and Hannah Colfer – Dealing with Severe Epilepsy

As I sit here eagerly waiting for Thursday to roll along so that I can watch the latest episode of Glee, I notice on my Twitter page quite a few mentions of Glee star Chris Colfer’s younger sister. Knowing the story of Hannah, I thought I would share it with all of you.

I am sure some of you are familiar with Chris Colfer, who plays Kurt Hummel in Glee. You may not however, be aware that although he is only 21 years of age, Chris is a Golden Globe winner, a two-time Emmy nominee and was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2011. Chris is currently awaiting the release of his debut film Struck by Lightning in which Chris not only wrote but also stars in. This amazing young man has also signed a book deal to write two novels for children and young adults, the first of which The Land of Stories is scheduled for release on July 17, 2012. If this is not enough Chris has also written a second movie in which he will appear as a supporting character due to be filmed in 2013. Chris’ latest role outside of Glee showed his heart-stopping (live on You Tube) performance in March 2012 in a staged re-enactment of the federal trial that overturned California’s Prop 8 ban on same-sex marriage where he convincingly portrayed Ryan Kendall, performing with stars such as George Clooney and Brad Pitt.

You can probably tell that I am a huge Chris Colfer fan; I think that this young man has achieved so much in his young life and is obviously a very determined, driven and inspirational individual. You would be forgiven for thinking that Chris has had it easy in order to accomplish so much. You would be sorely mistaken! Not only was Chris constantly bullied in school for being openly gay, his homelife was not as easy as we would presume. In many interviews, Chris mentions his little sister Hannah, he often says hello to her on television. His love and admiration for his sister is overwhelming.

At the age of 2, Chris’ younger sister Hannah was diagnosed with epilepsy. Most sufferers are able to control their seizures with medication; unfortunately, Hannah is among the 3% where drugs and medications have no effect. Without this medical intervention, it means that Hannah experiences over FIFTY seizures per hour, twenty four hours a day! I personally find this an overwhelming statistic and wonder how as a parent I would cope. It is because of Hannah’s condition that Chris took up acting as an understandable means of escaping the stress involved in living with a disabled family member.

In 2010, Chris’ mother, Karyn Colfer appeared on KYNO Radio to talk about her daughter’s condition.  Karyn described the difficulties of managing Hannah’s condition and stated how proud she is of both of her children. Since Chris is no longer living at home, Karyn has affiliated herself with, CURE Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy: an organization that is dedicated to finding a cure for epilepsy.

Although not many of us could associate the feelings of having to deal with our loved ones constantly having seizures, accidentally harming themselves because of it and needing constant care and attention, I think we can all respect the hard work and dedication of the families that do have to cope with such things.  I must add, to deal with all of this stress and raise such a kind-hearted, warm, inspirational person as Chris Colfer and an obviously courageous young Hannah is a real compliment to their amazing parents.

If what Chris has accomplished is not identifying your goal and reaching for your dreams through battles and struggles, then I do not know what is.  I have so much respect for the Colfer family. Keep up the good fight!




  1. Your writing is done beautifully. You captured both of my unique kids!!
    I have a book written, but not sure it will ever find a publisher. It’s amazing how closed off most people are when it comes to wanting to read about Epilepsy. Thank you for your kind words regarding my family. We are very close, and my kids are truly extensions of each other. I have often said I am not an amazing mother but a mother of two amazing kids who I love unconditionally and whom teach me something new everyday.

    Karyn Colfer -

    • I have heard a lot about Chris before and am very impressed with the amount of work he has done for good causes. I did not however hear about his sister, I do not know anyone with such severe epilepsy. It must be very hard on the entire family and it is fantastic to see how supportive they are to her while (at least in Chris’ case) going on to achieve the incredible.

      Karyn, I was very surprised to see your comment on here and would like to say a massive well done on how you have brought up and looked after your kids, it cannot have been easy. I would love to read your book as soon as you get it published! And if you struggle too much finding a publisher, there is always the self publishing route which can work very well too!

      Shane Hudson -

    • Thank you for your kind words Karyn and for taking the time to read and reply, you do not know how important your opinion was to me.
      I would love to highlight Epilepsy further showing what Hannah and other’s like her go through, so once I have researched thoroughly, I will post a more indepth review and also informing people more about CURE. Thank you once again!

      Michelle Baker -

    • Karyn, your kids truly are amazing. Chris has been such an inspiration to me, and when I heard about Hannah’s condition and realised how difficult it would be to watch someone you love suffer the way she does, it only made me admire him (and the rest of your family) even more. I’ve seen interviews where Chris talks about Hannah, he is clearly so proud of her, and that is a reflection of how he has been raised to love and respect his family. You’ve done an amazing job with both your kids hon, you should be proud of yourself. :)

      Michelle, this article is so beautifully written. Thankyou for sharing this situation on your website… I think the more exposure an illness like this gets, the better. It can only help to raise peoples awareness of the issue, and of CURE. I’m going to tweet and FB this article (if I can work out how to do it). Karyn, maybe you could ask Chris to tweet it too! He has just a few more Twitter followers than me. :)

      Bec Johnstone -

  2. Still remember that interview of Chris Colfer at the talkshow of Chelsea Handler in which he admitted in front of the camera’s that he was gay… If I am not mistaken, Chris Colfer was NOT out in highschool but he was emotionally bullied because of e.g. his high pitched voice… which led the bullies to pronounce among others the dreaded three letter F-word. I wonder what those bullies are thinking now…

    Lily -

    • Hello Lily,
      If Chris’ bullies have any sense, they will be hidden and ashamed under a rock somewhere. Athough it would be extremely interesting to hear from them what they think now! Have you read my latest post where I conversed with Chris’ mum? His strength of character is admirable.

      Michelle Baker -

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