We’re the Andersons and we live in Colorado. We created our first camera monitor back in 2009 to help us care for our son with epilepsy. James first started having seizures in childhood, and over the years experienced a wide range of nocturnal seizures and other abnormal sleep behavior. During that time, SAMi kept him safe and helped us as parents understand what was going on at night and communicate effectively with our doctors.
At first our care team believed what we were describing sounded more like sleep walking, or some other sleep disorder. It wasn't until we managed to capture one on video that our neurologist confirmed they were seizures... He would sit up in bed and stare, or start gulping, or wiggle his toes or fingers.
While it was a relief to get some clarity, our sleep really started to suffer after his diagnosis. We found ourselves walking the hallway at night, sleeping with an ear pressed against a baby monitor, and even considered having him move into our room full-time out of fear of what we might miss.
Before we created SAMi, we experimented with all the available wearable (watch / armband) and under the mattress movement monitors. Unfortunately nothing worked tha well - either we were being woken up constantly, or they were missing seizures, even some of James' Grand Mals (Tonic Clonic). On top of that, James didn't like wearing something to bed. He tended to unconsciously fidget or wiggle out of the wearables in his sleep.
So we decided to make something ourselves.
We knew it had to do two things really well to be of use:
- Reliably alert us to his abnormal convulsive movements and muscle stiffening while ignoring his normal sleep movement (tossing and turning, going to the bathroom, etc.) so we could actually sleep
- Provide an accurate, time-stamped, recorded feedback loop to his doctors as we tried new treatments
Eventually, James became a candidate for brain surgery in his late teens (frontal lobe resection for those who are curious) which gave us several years truly seizure free.
When the Epilepsy Foundation found out about the monitor I created for James, they encouraged me to take part in their first ever Shark Tank competition. We ended up winning, and we used the funding to turn SAMi into a real product. Today, we have our eldest son Matt on the team to help us run the business so we can stay focused on product development.
SAMi helped us feel a bit safer at night when his epilepsy was uncontrolled. It also helped give us some insight into how things were going after the surgery.
If you think SAMi may be able to help you or your family, feel free to try it out or shoot us a message if you have questions. We'd be happy to help and will point you in the right direction if you need something else. And if you need help paying for SAMi, we can connect you with organizations that will help.
Charles & Cynthia Anderson
Founders and Owners of SAMi
To support the families and individuals living with epilepsy through continued product development. We are also committed to keeping product costs low, and customer service high, and to support the non-profits that serve the epilepsy community.