Winnipegger Keith Holden does his best to manage his epilepsy but at times it gets beyond his control.

He said his doctor told him to get to the emergency room as soon as possible when the most severe seizures strike.

"It can cause heart attack, stroke, aneurysm. There's a lot of side-effects that can come from a grand mal seizure,” said Holden.

Sara Bettess, executive director of the Epilepsy and Seizure Association of Manitoba, said people living with epilepsy suffer a range of different severities of seizures and the most serious of them can require immediate medical attention.

"Somebody with persistent, uncontrolled tonic-clonic seizures could require trips to the hospital via ambulance once or twice a month,” said Bettess.

The City of Winnipeg charges patients between $500 and $800 for every ambulance ride.

“My ambulance bills just keep piling up,” said Holden. “I had to stop.”

With more than 100 ambulance trips since being diagnosed in 1999, Holden has racked up nearly $40,000 in ambulance bills.

He’s doing his best to pay off the tab but living on disability benefits makes it tough to keep up.

He has told his 13-year-old daughter to stop calling 911 and now he tries to deal with even the severe seizures at home.

"A teenager shouldn't have to worry about their parents. Simply because of finances,” said Holden. “It’s wrong.”

He said he would like to see the province offer greater ambulance subsidies for people living with chronic illness.

“Healthcare in Canada is something that Canadians cherish,” said Holden. “And if you can’t even get to the hospital to get that, how can you cherish that health care?”

A Manitoba Health spokesperson said they were aware of Holden’s issue and had been in touch with but they did not commit to providing any assistance to ease the financial burden caused by his ambulance bills.