Sixteen-year-old Hannah Enge has suffered from seizures for the last four years.
They come unbidden, mostly when she has intense emotions, or is under stress.
But she refuses to let them rule her life and adamantly insisted to her mother that she wanted to enter the International Miss Teen Minnesota Pageant, which was held over the weekend.
And during the question-and-answer session, resplendent in an ivory dress and high heels, she collapsed with a sickening thud as her body hit the floor and she suffered an onstage seizure.
“I remember speaking and then, I don’t know, everything went dizzy,” she told INSIDE EDITION. "And I could hear screams that sounded straight out of a horror film.”
Her mother, Allie, rushed to her daughter’s side as pageant officials closed the stage curtains.
She told IE that any kind of excitement can induce an episode.
“She got a new iPhone and she got excited and she went down and had a seizure,” her mom said. “She got asked to prom a few years ago and she was all excited … and she had a seizure.”
At age 12, she was hit in the head with a volley ball and suffered a concussion. Days later, a ball hit her in the same spot, and she experienced another concussion.
The seizures started after that. At times, she suffered as many as 30 a day.
But time and medication has significantly diminished the episodes, and before the pageant, months had passed without a seizure.
Behind the curtain with her mother, Hannah got back up. She didn’t want to go the hospital, she said. She wanted to finish the pageant.
And she did, completing the question-and-answer period and telling the audience, as she cried softly: “That was one of my many seizures. This is what I’ve been facing for the past four years. Any change in emotion, this is what happens to me."
"I want to speak for those who can’t speak. Those who don’t have an opportunity like I have right here,” she said.
She received a standing ovation, and was the second runner-up.
“This is what I deal with every day of my life,” she told IE. “If I don’t decide to get back up I’m just going to stay down. And I don’t want to stay down.”