For Caitie Shaw, epilepsy is a disorder which affects her personally.
In June, she spent a week in B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, being treated for the neurological disorder.
Following that experience, she, along with fellow Summerland Secondary School students Dan Nixon, Max Von Krosigk and Sylvia Mott formed the Epilepsy Awareness Squad.
“We felt there was a need to increase awareness of the disorder and combat the stigma often associated with it,” Shaw said.
Treatments are available for epilepsy and Shaw had been on medication for four years.
Last year, because of the side effects, she went off the medication.
The seizures resulted in her hospitalization.
She went back onto medication late in 2013, but had an allergic reaction to it. As a result, she was in hospital in Kelowna last month for further testing.
To raise awareness and to decrease the stigma surrounding epilepsy, they have organized a gala event which will be held next month.
The event, at Sumac Ridge Golf Course on Feb. 22, will include a meal, live music and a silent auction.
The money raised from the event will go to epilepsy programs in British Columbia and in Sierra Leone.
The contributions to the small African country came as the members of the Epilepsy Awareness Squad wanted to provide assistance to poorer countries.
Nixon said the idea for the fundraiser began in October, when they considered ways to hold a special event for epilepsy awareness.
He added that he first became aware of the disorder last summer, when Shaw held a fundraising garage sale.
Further information about the gala event is available online at easquad.org and sandpapersmiles.org.
They can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and at email@example.com.