At 23 years old, Grant Fryman was a healthy young man. He loved hunting and fishing, gaming, football, working out and his job. More than anything, he loved his family and friends. His infectious laughter and ability to say just the right thing at just the right time would always leave smiles on those around him. He truly lived life to the fullest.
Grant had his first seizure while he was sleeping on April 12, 2012. He was working with his dad on a job near Canton, Ohio. A neurologist in Canton found a microscopic spot of scar tissue on Grant’s brain. Because they found the source of Grant’s seizure, he was diagnosed with epilepsy.
He was prescribed Levetiracetam to control seizures and help deteriorate the scar tissue. The exact words from his neurologist was "It's not a life or death situation". We were also told the scar tissue would probably be dissolved within a couple years and he'd be off the medication and perfectly fine. Grant was to follow up with a neurologist back in Dayton in six months.
Although he wasn’t happy about this new interruption in his life, Grant took his medication religiously and followed his neurologist's advice. But, Grant never made it to his six month checkup. Just under five months later on September 2, 2012, Grant had his second seizure while sleeping, except this one took his life. Our son, Grant, passed away from SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy). Something we weren't even aware existed. Something we were never told or warned about that was a risk to anyone who has seizures.
After reaching out to the Epilepsy Foundation and learning more about SUDEP, along with the desperate need for awareness and research for both SUDEP and epilepsy, we began the 'Grant A Gift' program. Grant was always known as the guy who'd give the shirt off his back and this allows us to continue his giving legacy through our fundraisers. Every year in August, we hold BIGGGNASTYYY'S Poker Run and Hog Roast. In the past years we have raised funds to assist the with the purchase of a seizure service dog for a local little girl and help the Meyer family start up the CaraBear Project, in memory of their 5 year old daughter, Cara Meyer, who passed away due to complications of epilepsy. Our raised funds for Grant a Gift have also provided local hospitals, neurologist and doctor offices with informational pamphlets on SUDEP, as well as raising awareness and funds for research and the foundation. Our hope is that no one is blindsided by SUDEP like we were. We want to provide people with more information about the risks and facts of SUDEP.
One of our beloved items we have at our fundraisers is our bottles of Grant Fryman's Bigggnastyyy Whiskey. Being a 23 year old, Grant enjoyed the occasion spirit and his choice of liquor was Jack Daniels. The bottles are Jack Daniels but with revised labels that everyone has come to love. Our BIGGGNASTYYYs Poker Run and Whiskey are named after Grant's gaming username. His version of the spelling was created after 'Bignasty' was already taken. It quickly became a nickname that his friends have called him for years.
Thank you for taking the time to read the story about our son, Grant, and how our BIGGGNASTYYY events and whiskey all began.