Group hosts fundraiser for epilepsy awareness event - WNEM TV 5

Group hosts fundraiser for epilepsy awareness event

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

A local teen is sharing a very personal story to tell the world he is more than just his disorder.

Close to three million people across the U.S. have epilepsy - a neurological disorder that causes recurrent seizures.

"Epilepsy is kind of like a stigma used on some people," said Matthew Summerfield.

He was diagnosed with epilepsy when he was just 11-years-old. Now he's wrapping up his junior year in high school.

Matthew said it's been a long road learning some of the challenges that come with his condition.

"They don't know when they're gonna have a seizure. It's not really a, like trust upon if someone has epilepsy to do a job or something like that," he said.

This time of year he joins his family in the annual Summer Stroll for Epilepsy. It is put on by the Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan. This year's event is held May 20 at Dow Diamond in Midland.

"The core of it is about raising awareness. It's very misunderstood," Matthew said.

The foundation was at Sullivans in Saginaw on May 15 hosting a fundraiser to raise money for epilepsy. The proceeds will go to the foundation for the dinner as well as a silent auction for the event.

Matthew said it's one of the best feelings to see people support the cause.

He said a lot of people who have epilepsy don't talk about it because of the stigma. That's something he wants to change.

"We want people to say yes, they have it. But no, they are not alone. That's what I wanna do because there's a lot of people that are afraid to tell people and I want them to come out and realize that there's a supportive community out there for them and it's a great way to gain knowledge for them," Matthew said.

The stroll starts Saturday at 8 a.m. at the Dow Diamond. It costs $25 to join.

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