By Deron Hamel
Purple Day is just around the corner, and one nine-year-old girl and her mother in a small northern Ontario community are gearing up for their annual drive to raise epilepsy awareness.
For the past few years, Grade 4 student Miah Wheadon and her mother, Gina, have approached local businesses in Manitouwadge, Ont. to put up posters, host a bake sale, raffle off items and educate people about epilepsy ahead of Purple Day on March 26. Miah, her parents and two sisters also make Purple Day T-shirts.
When visiting area businesses, Miah will take time to tell people about her story of living with epilepsy since she was 18 months old. She also explains what Purple Day is and its importance.
“Some people will say to her, ‘Oh, I feel so bad for you,’ but Miah will say, ‘Don’t feel bad – it’s just part of life,’” Gina tells Voices of Epilepsy. “She is very accepting of her condition and for her it’s just part of life.”
Miah has also done presentations for her class, explaining what epilepsy is and what to do if she has a seizure. Her presentations have been well received by her teachers and classmates.
“She has completely blown me away with how much she has educated people,” Gina says of Miah.
For the first time last year, Miah and Gina also asked the people of Manitouwadge to donate baked goods for their Purple Day drive. Many in the community of 2,100 responded TO Miah’s advertisements by sending cookies, cakes and Rice Krispies squares to Miah and Gina to sell.
Miah and Gina raised more than $200 for Purple Day in 2015. Miah donated the proceeds to Epilepsy Ontario.
Purple Day, an international day of epilepsy awareness, was started in 2008 by Cassidy Megan, a then-nine-year-old Nova Scotia girl, who is living with epilepsy. People and organizations are encouraged to acknowledge Purple Day
Epilepsy affects an estimated one in every 100 Canadians.
Click here for more information about Purple Day.
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