On July 16, 2014, ten families dealing with epilepsy or seizure-related illnesses were awarded all-expense paid trips to the 2014 Epilepsy Awareness Day at Disneyland on November 5- 7, 2014, compliments of The Chelsea Hutchison Foundation and one very generous anonymous donor. Nominees were gathered through the Chelsea Hutchison Foundation, and winners were selected through a random draw.
The award winners are the Pfier family from Mobile, AL; the Burnette family from Hardinsburg, KY; the Bergstrom family from Douglas, MA; the Borel family from Port Arthur, TX; the Nelson family from Eden Prairie, MN; the Varnell family from Ft. Carson, CO; the Luna family from Hammond, IN; the Rudisaile family from Aurora, CO; the Weigand family from New Philadelphia, OH; and the Lyles family from Peyton, CO.
The 2014 Epilepsy Awareness Day at Disneyland is held in honor of Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA, The Chelsea Hutchison Foundation, and the Danny Did Foundation. Award winners will attend the kick-off event on November 5 to learn more services, organizations, and information for the epilepsy community. On November 6, the families will enjoy the entire day at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. The experience will conclude on November 7 with a Picnic for all participants of the 2014 Epilepsy Awareness Day. For these families, a trip like this is otherwise out of the question with the financial demands placed on them dealing with illness.
The Chelsea Hutchison Foundation serves individuals, families and communities affected by epilepsy by raising awareness of the common yet little-known condition SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy), by providing support, grants for seizure-response dogs and equipment for prevention of this occurrence, and by creating a safe space and raising awareness within the greater community. The Foundation was founded in 2009 by Doug and Julie Hutchison after the sudden and unexpected death of their daughter, Chelsea.
Currently, the cause of SUDEP is not known, although it is the cause up to 20% of deaths in epileptic individuals[i], and over one-third of deaths among epileptic children.[ii] Although there is little awareness of SUDEP, even among individuals with epilepsy and their families, it is still the leading epilepsy-related cause of death, well above accidents resulting from an epileptic seizure, [iii] and preventive measures can be taken.
For more information about the Chelsea Hutchison Foundation and the 2014 Epilepsy Awareness Day at Disneyland, please contact Julie Hutchison at ChelseasLegacy@aol.com or visit the website: www.ChelseaHutchisonFoundation.org. If you would like to donate to to enhance these family's trips further, we would welcome that. Click here if you wish to donate to that project.
Please know that no funds from Seizure-Response Dogs for those with Epilepsy will be used for the Disneyland trips.
[iii] http://www.dannydid.org/sudep/know-the-facts/ (http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/aboutepilepsy/healthrisks/sudep/index.cfm?CFID=12690957&CFTOKEN=41034784).