By MIA BASS
Betty Gunn went into Books-A-Million looking for a book for her grandson and ended up finding Wesley Eason. Eason was so helpful that she wrote to nominate him as a Shining Star article, raving about how he truly made a difference in her shopping experience.
Eason was given less than a week to live when he was born with complications from hydrocephalus. The condition occurs when a buildup of excess cerebrospinal fluid causes swelling in the brain. As a newborn, Eason had a shunt placed in his head that is connected to a tube that allows the excess fluid to be distributed without harm in his stomach. Today the shunt in his head causes epilepsy, which is managed for the most part but does not allow him to drive a car.
But Eason doesn’t define himself based on hydrocephalus. He’s worked for Books-A-Million for the past 11 years and loves what he does. He moved to the Brookwood location after Wildwood closed recently.
“They are like a second family to me,” Eason said of his co-workers. “I love bowling with a group and hanging out with my friends at Books-A-Million.”
He got into creative writing as a student at Mountain Brook High School and enjoyed writing about James Bond, although he looks to science fiction for pleasure reading now.
After finishing school at Mountain Brook, Eason was accepted into UAB’s Horizons School program. The core curriculum there focuses on personal, social and career independence as well as self-determination. After a community transition program in the third year, most students are placed in a steady job following completion of this program.
This post-graduate independent living program enabled Eason to live on his own in Cahaba Heights and work at the bookstore.
What’s next? He’d like to take up golf, enroll in a class on technology and, if it’s ever medically possible, skydive.