Epilepsy Toronto

http://www.epilepsytoronto.org

We are sharing a story of growth, empowerment and confidence as Abigail continues to find her voice while living with epilepsy. Her mom who also lives with epilepsy, is grateful for the services provided by Epilepsy Toronto such as our groups and events, which have impacted her daughter's well being and overall confidence.

Building our circle of trust:

A few short years ago, I first met Abigail on a big yellow bus while we headed to Epilepsy Toronto’s Camping weekend at Balsam Lake Provincial Park. This shy 7-year-old redhead girl was glued to her mother's hip, reading a book and rarely looking up for the entire two hour journey. It was clear that Abigail was shy and kept her circle of trust close to her heart.

Abigail’s mother Jennifer told me that Abigail was diagnosed when she was only 4 years old and her epilepsy has been weighing heavily on her little shoulders. She worried about having a seizure at school, what she would look like if she did and how much the kids would tease her afterwards. The weight of this worry made it hard to connect with others, make friends, and build her circle of trust.

For Jennifer, this weekend represented hope for Abigail. She wanted Abigail to see other children with epilepsy living as carefree kids and feel comfortable enough to put the book down, unglue herself from mom’s side and connect with peers. She wished Abigail felt safe enough to build her circle of trust so the weight of her problems wasn’t a burden to carry alone.

Over the weekend Abigail took her time to build confidence, join activities and talk to other kids all while keeping close to mom. Slowly but surely her circle of trust was opening. By the time our last morning arrived Abigail had made friends with another girl her age. The look on Jennifer’s face as she helped pack up the bus while her daughter played happily, off in the distance – was priceless.  Her daughter was carefree. Her daughter was laughing. Her daughter had made a friend. 
After that weekend Abigail and Jennifer became regulars at Epilepsy Toronto events, attending our annual Holiday Party, Purple Walk for Epilepsy and our Winter Family Retreat. Jennifer told us how much attending these events and being part of this epilepsy family meant to Abigail.
This past July I was once again packing the big yellow bus for the Summer Family Retreat, and this flash of golden red hair was running towards me. There was Abigail dashing to get on the bus, rallying other kids to join her and get a good seat. I wondered, could this really be the same shy kid I met 3 years earlier? Her smile was from ear to ear and her bubbly personality could fill stadium! As that weekend unfolded, I realized just how amazing her transformation was.

Abigail went from being the shy kid reading a book all alone to initiating conversations with the new kids, making them feel welcomed, getting up before mom to attend programs at camp and being an impressive team leader!
I recently saw Jennifer in our office and she came up to me with tears in her eyes and offered a big hug. She said

Knowing Abigail all her life I can honestly say the most significant change in her happened because of Epilepsy Toronto and all the people involved with you. She wouldn't be where she is today without these services and events – THANK YOU”.

We often forget the power of human connection. How just being able to be yourself in a safe space and welcomed without prejudice makes a big difference. For Abigail having a space safe to build her circle of trust and connect with others was truly transformative.
These opportunities for kids like Abigail wouldn’t be possible without the support we receive from you, our donors.

Your support will help scared kids just like Abigail make some pretty amazing transformations in the year to come, and for that we thank you.
 
 

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