As autumn leaves and rain begin to fall, I’m reflecting on this past summer’s encounters as we celebrate California Pediatric Epilepsy Awareness Day today and Epilepsy Awareness month in November. Stay tuned for opportunities to promote, inspire and contribute. Our foundation is expanding with the same fervor our warrior families demonstrate daily in their fight against epilepsy.
We launched into summer traveling to Dubai, Zambia, Paris and Iceland. Our global vision was reinforced as we engaged with local families who were in the same fight, with the same questions, and lacked access to proper care and treatment. We discussed taking a Pediatric Epileptologist with us when we come back to Zambia. We returned from our trip with two powerful allies in the philanthropic arena. Dazzle Africa is dedicated to conservation, education and community development in Zambia. Their executive director was personally responsible for bringing my husband, Gabe, and me together. While our new friends at Mulberry Mongoose are changing the lives of local women by teaching them a trade and creating independence and self-reliance. I am excited to be working with them on a line of jewelry that will promote their efforts in preserving wildlife and support our vision at Mickie’s Miracles. Excitedly, we returned home with full hearts and an energized mission.
We capped off the summer on August 20th in California’s State Capitol, Sacramento. Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar Curry presented us with Resolution-114. This resolution dedicated Mickie’s birthday, October 26th, as California Pediatric Epilepsy Day. Not only did it pass unanimously but all members voted to be co-authors of the resolution. Our hero and partner, Dr. Mary Zupanc, and I had office calls with other representatives and media interviews sharing the importance of pediatric epilepsy education and advocacy. We are excited for future legislation in the next session. That evening we hosted a well-attended program and celebratory reception.
In September, I had the privilege of joining the Epilepsy Foundation’s Orange County Care and Cure Gala which raised over $400,000 to fund a Pediatric Epileptologist at CHOC Children’s Hospital. This effort highlights the great need for increased specialty care in our country. This is echoed in the stories we hear every day from our families. The barriers to care coupled with the devastating co-morbidities of pediatric epilepsy are just too much to bear.
Thankfully we successfully navigated two of Mickie’s Warriors, Baby Hunter, and Baby Mia, to the highest level of care and on to seizure freedom. Mia’s mom reached out to me after being referred by the Epilepsy Foundation of Oklahoma. Hunter’s mom and I shared a mutual friend who told her to call me. We know there will be more families in need, today. Please click here to donate $5 a month to support our efforts.
We continue to march forward asking you to support the best way you can. It will take collective power and long-standing determination to elevate epilepsy into mainstream conversation. We need the kind of perseverance Henry Winkler described a few weeks ago during his Emmy acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actor. It had been 42 years since he had received his very first primetime Emmy nomination for playing the iconic role of “Fonzie” in the TV show Happy Days. Upon winning he shared, “If you stay at the table long enough, the chips come to you. Tonight, I got to clear the table.” We are inviting you to have a seat at our table where every chip counts.
Blessings, Kristie Griess