Putting the icing on awareness

 

By Jolene Perron

Epilepsy – one word with extraordinary meaning and a tough reality for the parents of Alexis Sinasac.

Alexis was diagnosed with Epilepsy when she was less than two years old. Her condition was first dismissed as a seizure caused by a high fever, unknown to doctors that her condition was far more advanced than that. It was not until Alexis had a seizure in front of the doctors that they decided to keep her in the walls of the hospital, under their supervision.

“I think the hospitals are aware, but they’re not fully prepared for it,” said Alvin Moore, father of Alexis. “There’s only one pediatrician who deals with all the epileptic children in the city – that makes it hard.”

After three days time, Alexis was sent home, only to have persistent seizures almost immediately as they walked in the door. Without any other options, Alexis’ parents drove up to London – as their child was having seizures in the back seat – for a second opinion. Since then, there have been different occasions in which she has been on life support and air lifted to the children’s hospital in London due to her condition.

Epilepsy is not a psychological disorder, nor is it contagious. It is a seizure disorder, brought upon by sudden excessive electrical discharges that disrupt any normal activity of the nerve cells in the brain.

 

Christina Almeida’s Amherstburg Public Grade 1 class celebrated “Purple Day” with purple clothing and cupcakes.

The illness itself is often misunderstood by the public, over exaggerated in movies and in the event an epileptic seizure occurs, it is often misjudged by the surrounding people as to how to react.

It is because of this that Cassidy Megan of Nova Scotia founded Purple Day. She

was only nine at the time, but since then Cassidy has been able to have her cause celebrated in dozens of countries around the world. It has been celebrated every year since 2008.

Inspired by this cause, Alexis’ parents wanted to raise awareness for their daughter’s illness by bringing Purple Day to Amherstburg Public Elementary School.

“The parents asked me,” explained Christina Almeida, teacher of Alexis’ first grade class, “Having a student in the class with epilepsy, I wanted to raise awareness.”

Almeida was able to teach the children about Epilepsy through videos, worksheets and a CD of procedures for the children to take in the case that Alexis has an epileptic seizure in the classroom.

“I think that now if something were to happen the children would be able to get an adult and help Alexis,” said Almeida.

Alexis’ parents also brought in purple cupcakes to treat the class on this special day.

Alexis’ condition is currently well controlled by medication, however she does have seizures periodically.

“I would like to see epilepsy awareness grow,” said Deanna Sinasac, mother of Alexis. “It does take time but over the years I do believe the more we educate, participate and engage, we can come together to achieve and support everyone.”

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