​Hamilton family raises $2,000 for Epilepsy Ontario

Eleven-year-old Riley Boucher-Ross’ diagnosis with epilepsy is the inspiration that moved his family to take action by starting their own fundraiser, Out of the Shadows.

The Boucher-Rosses are sharing Riley’s story in their first annual epilepsy fundraiser, Out of the Shadows.

Riley Boucher-Ross was just three years old when his parents learned he had epilepsy. Nancy Boucher-Ross and her husband, Matthew Ross, were unprepared for the diagnosis their younger son received eight years ago.

“We weren’t very familiar with epilepsy,” Nancy recalled.

She and her husband combed the Internet for information on the seizure disorder they knew little about. Their search led them to Epilepsy Ontario’s website. Riley and his family gradually learned to cope with his seizures, but they didn’t stop there.

After attending a benefit for the breast cancer community, Nancy and Matthew decided to plan their own event. Riley, now 11, and his big brother Tyler pitched in to throw their first ever fundraiser this past March. Together, the family of four organized Out of the Shadows – an evening of food and fun complete with draws and giveaways.

The Boucher-Rosses sold about 100 tickets for a buffet dinner at the Steel House Grill in downtown Hamilton. Donations poured in as friends and family offered gift baskets, gift cards and even a barbecue to use as prizes.

“We were delightfully surprised at how generous people are,” said Nancy in an email.

Out of the Shadows was such a success that Nancy and Matthew have decided to make the event an annual one that gets bigger and better every year. Next year’s benefit dinner may even include a dance.

The Boucher-Rosses donated the $2,000 proceeds to Epilepsy Ontario in the hopes of helping families living with epilepsy like theirs. “If we can make anyone’s life a little easier by educating them on epilepsy then we are happy to do so!” Nancy wrote.

Epilepsy Ontario has shared the proceeds from the event with Epilepsy Halton Peel Hamilton. This agency works closely with Hamilton Health Sciences, one of the leading epilepsy care centres in the province.

The funds will also help ensure that Epilepsy Ontario’s website – the same one that helped Riley’s family – provides the latest information on epilepsy and advocates on behalf of the provincial epilepsy strategy.

Writer: Veronica Tang

Click here to see the press release for Out of the Shadows (January 2012).

You can help

Riley is just one of about 300,000 Canadians who are living with epilepsy. You can help support families like the Boucher-Rosses. Visit our Get Involved page to learn how.

Have you raised epilepsy awareness in your community? Or maybe you know somebody who has. If your community has held a fundraiser for epilepsy, we want to hear about it! Let us know how you are supporting people with seizure disorders by emailing us today.