Group, schools team up for epilepsy awareness


AUSTINTOWN — Mahoning Valley Epilepsy joined with two area schools to highlight a new educational program that explains the disorder to children.

November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month, and the Rutherford Hayes Middle School in Youngstown and Canfield Middle School teamed up with the Mahoning Valley organization in a “Stars For Epilepsy” program.

The organization provided the schools with a new education program developed by UCB Pharma, producer of an anti-epileptic drug, and the pupils collected quarters over a two-week period to help support the organization’s efforts.

The children gathered $2,000 worth of quarters, said Janet Mau, Mahoning Valley Epilepsy director.

Each school received an assortment of booklets and fliers about epilepsy to be kept in the school library.

Helping children understand about seizure activity and the disorder of epilepsy will also be offered to the school in a teaching format so the children will have a better understanding of the disorder, Mau said.

One pupil at each school — Victornykque Nixon, a sixth-grader at Hayes, and Crissy Gelonese, a seventh-grader at Canfield — were selected as their school representative to receive a “Star” pin.

One in 100 people deals with epilepsy and one in 10 will experience at least one seizure in his or her life time, Mau said. People need to know what to do to assist them, and beginning with children will help many gain confidence in helping to know the right course to follow when someone with the diagnosis of epilepsy needs help, she said.

Mahoning Valley Epilepsy will follow up and visit the school classrooms for teaching sessions, Mau said, adding that young people who have epilepsy will assist in that effort.

Sometimes, it’s easier for children to relate to another young person, she said.

Anyone experiencing this disorder can call the office at (330) 270-8037 for help in the area of support, advocacy and education and written materials.

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