Epilepsy Durham Region executive director Dianne McKenzie says the agency’s Sept. 29 Pull Together for Epilepsy event carries great symbolism, that of a community coming together, standing side by side in support of people living with epilepsy.
Held in conjunction with Clarington’s Family Safety Day, an annual event featuring several interactive exhibits focused on public safety, Pull Together for Epilepsy, a fire-engine pull, will be the final event of the day.
Family Safety Day is being held at the Garnet B. Rickard Recreation Complex in Bowmanville from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The fire-engine pull is being held at Clarington Fire Station No. 1, located on-site.
This is the first time a Pull Together for Epilepsy event has been held. Pull Together for Epilepsy will feature 10 teams of 10 people pulling a fire engine provided by the local fire department.
“I think the important part of this is the symbolic aspect,” says McKenzie.
“The entire community is coming together to pull. . . . Many of these people have no personal connection to epilepsy but they’re coming for the symbolism.”
Along with the important symbolism, McKenzie says the public attention garnered from the event will help raise awareness of epilepsy and Epilepsy Durham Region, which is now in its 25th year. In fact, there will be about 7,000 people at Family Safety Day who will be positioned to get the message.
“(Family Safety Day) is already big, so we have dovetailed with this event, and we’re building on the excitement that’s already surrounding Family Safety Day, (and) people are very excited to hear that we’re pulling a fire truck,” says McKenzie.
“The word ‘epilepsy’ is going to be repeated over and over in a fun, family environment — it’s not something negative.”
Epilepsy Durham Region outreach co-ordinator Jessica Scheffee adds that people living with epilepsy often “feel alone,” but an event like this shows there’s a community behind them.
“By bringing people together and supporting (people with epilepsy), it shows them they have a connection to other people in the community,” says Scheffee.
Money raised by the teams will go towards Lora’s Legacy Fund, which helps Epilepsy Durham Region empower people living with epilepsy. Epilepsy Durham Region is aiming to raise $25,000, and $12,500 of that has already been raised in pennies.
Even if people don’t want to pull the fire engine, they can still make a difference by coming out to cheer teams on and learn more about Epilepsy Durham Region and Clarington Emergency and Fire Services at Family Safety Day, says McKenzie.
Epilepsy affects one in 100 individuals and 36,000 in Durham Region, according to Epilepsy Durham Region.
For more information about the event, please contact McKenzie at 905-430-3090, or visit www.epilepsydurham.com.
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