Hopewell Schools raise epilepsy awareness

| November 1, 2012

Step Up 4 Families, a new support group for parents who have children with disabilities, presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to Crista Barry and Cara Renner in recognition of their brother, Chad, who has suffered from seizures for 30 years. Pictured l-r: Margie Scherer, Chad’s grandmother; Crista Barry, Chad’s sister; Cara Renner, Chad’s sister; and Mr. and Mrs. Charles Baumer, Chad’s grandparents.

COSHOCTON – One in 10 adults will suffer from a seizure during their lifetime. In order to bring epilepsy awareness to the community, Hopewell Schools hosted an Epilepsy Awareness Day today, Thursday, Nov. 1 at 1 p.m. to kick off Epilepsy Awareness Month.

“Many of our individuals have a disability,” said Bob Nicholson, adult services director at Hopewell Industries. “Close to 50 percent of the people have a seizure disability in addition to their other diagnoses.”

During the program, Katie Hultz and Mike Wilson announced a new program in Coshocton County called, ‘Step Up 4 Families’ which is designed to be a support group for parents in the community who have children with disabilities. The group will have their first meeting Monday, Nov. 19 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. at the Coshocton Library and will continue to meet the third Monday of each month.

“We hope that other families will come and share their stories or just come and ask questions,” said Wilson. “It’s important to keep ourselves grounded and not get angry. When you see your daughter having a seizure, you feel like someone is hurting your daughter and you can’t do anything to help.”

Wilson’s daughter, Brooke, is ten years old and has Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS). Three weeks ago, Brooke underwent a successful brain surgery.

“It was a tough decision for us to put Brooke through the surgery, but that was the last hope for Brooke to have some normalcy in her life,” said Wilson.

Crista Barry and Cara Renner spoke on behalf of their brother Chad, who has suffered from epilepsy for 30 years. On behalf of Step Up, Wilson and Hultz presented Crista and Cara, along with other family members, with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the end of the program.

“We’re hoping this will grow and become more community involvement,” said Nicholson about Step Up. “I look for Step Up to be a force in the county. These are families. These are people doing this every day. What an awesome opportunity to bring the families together. This was thought up by the families and I’m thankful that the board can support it.”

Sheldon Mencer ended the program with a song he wrote called, ‘God’s Got a Plan for Me’. Mencer and his wife have been involved with Echoing Hills for many years.

“I’ve had a real passion for people with challenges and disabilities,” said Mencer. “It’s an honor to come and be able to share something positive with these people.”

After the program, each person was handed a purple balloon which they then released outside.

“It’s a way with us to cope with our everyday life,” said Wilson about Epilepsy Awareness Month and Step Up. “I always said when Brooke was diagnosed with LGS, our lives were devastated. This is my way of giving back to my daughter and my wife, my family.”

To learn more about LGS, visit lgsfoundation.org. To learn more about epilepsy, visit epilepsy.com. For more information about Step Up 4 Families, contact Mike Wilson at 610-8167 or email at [email protected]

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About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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