Rocking for epilepsy awareness

AUSTINTOWN – Volunteers helped raise money and awareness for epilepsy Saturday by spending four hours rocking in chairs outside the Cracker Barrel.

The eighth annual Rocking for Epilepsy raises money to help Mahoning Valley Epilepsy Fund get assistance to those who have the condition. The foundation called upon volunteers to rock in a chair for an hour.

Marty Smith, executive director of MVEF, said the agency serves Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties assisting people of all ages with epilepsy and their families.

Smith, whose son Noah, 16, has epilepsy and had part of his brain removed at age 7 to deal with the condition. She said she can relate to what others go through because of what she has been through with her son.

“We are here to raise awareness and help others. … Two in every 100 people have epilepsy,” Smith said.

Kaia Wollett, 5, of North Jackson, who has sometimes more than 200 seizures a day, helped at the event by selling butterfly decorations her family made.

Amy Wollett, Kaia’s mother, said her daughter has had seizures since she was 1 year old and has been through a lot since then.

“There are so many different faces with those with epilepsy. Epilepsy knows no gender, no race, no social economics, anyone can be affected,” Smith said.

Many at the event wore purple the color of epilepsy awareness.

Smith said to further promote the awareness a “Paint Your Pumpkin” purple event will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 11 and noon to 3 p.m. Oct. 13 at Boardman Park.

The Epilepsy Fund raises money for programs and services and helps connect people with agencies.

Smith said proceeds from past rocking events have helped send children from the tri-county area to summer camp, assisted adults to get in contact with drug companies and agencies to get their medicine, and provided support groups and educational programs to local residents.

Sarah Bowen, 22, of Boardman, had surgery six years ago and said she is now seizure free. She said she attends the event to share her story.

Jennifer Julian of Vienna said her son Nico Julian, 4, had surgery and is now seizure free. Julian attended the event to help share her story with others.

MVEF was established in 1997 as a nonprofit.