Purple Tea Party fundraiser raises awareness on epilepsy

In Health & Science, Lifestyle
This is a photo of a girl who is talking in a microphone to an audience.
(Joshua Arief Halim / Daily Titan)

With a personal connection to epilepsy, the current high school Miss California, Grace Edwards, created Talent for Epilepsy, a nonprofit group whose mission is to inform people about epilepsy and break the stigma.

Edwards hosted Purple Tea Party at Marie Callendar’s in Anaheim, one of multiple fundraising events for her nonprofit.

The room was filled with lavender decorations, as lavender and purple are the colors that represent epilepsy. The color and the plant are believed to calm the brain and nervous system, according to Medical Daily.

“Our main goal is education. I believe that through small events like this all the way up to our big biannual events, I believe that we are able to reach a wide span of people and educate as much as possible on seizures and epilepsy,” Edwards said.

Purple Tea Party included food, entertainment and engaging activities such as crosswords and a caricature artist for those who were in attendance. Marie Callendar’s donated 20 percent of sales to Talent for Epilepsy to support the event.

Each year, more than 50 million people around the world are affected by epilepsy, according to the World Health Organization. Not only can this disease affect an individual, but also their family and loved ones.

In the United States alone, 5.1 million people have been diagnosed and there are currently 2.9 million adults and children undergoing epilepsy conditions, according to the Epilepsy Foundation.

People that suffer from epilepsy can endure several different types of seizures, but the two main types of epileptic seizures are primary generalized seizures and partial seizures. Having a stroke, head injury or brain infection can cause epilepsy.

Miss California Jr. High Kaysee French,her younger sister Karynne French and fellow pageant competitor Kayla Rose were among the performers at the event.

Each girl performed a cover of a song, including “Fly Me To The Moon” by Frank Sinatra.

After each performance, Edwards talked about her cousin Logan Verne who suffers from epilepsy. She also educated the audience on what to do if you encounter a person who is having a seizure.

Edwards recalled when Logan had a seizure at Disneyland and she was the only one who knew what to do.

Not only was she able to assist her cousin, but she was also able to teach those who were not informed what they could possibly do in the future if they ever came across a similar situation.

“I have been trained my whole life in proper seizure first aid. I taught the surrounding people proper seizure first aid and from there I made it my goal to teach every person I met seizure first aid,” Edwards said.

Edwards said she wants people to be aware and know that they can help anyone having a seizure by following the four S’s: side, soft, stay and safe. It’s crucial to lay the person on their side, put a soft object beneath their head, stay with them and make sure they’re in a safe area.

“Be sure to time it because if it goes over five minutes, call 911, and always, always, always check and see if they have a medical ID band,” Edwards said.

Having a medical ID band is a safe way for whoever is helping the person having a seizure understand how they should be treated with the doctor’s orders listed on the band.

Since the start of the organization, Edwards and her supporters have raised over $10,000 for families and individuals that are currently suffering from epilepsy.

The future of Talent for Epilepsy has a lot in store as they are very proactive in planning monthly events. Edwards said the organization plans to branch out to Northern California and other states to expand their outreach and audience.

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