Epilepsy is a neurological disease that affects the brain and causes unprovoked seizures that can impact someone’s mental and physical ability. The disease is the 4th most common of neurological diseases, and it affects 2.2 million people in the U.S.; however, there is a lack of awareness about the disease. According to research, 1 in 26 people in the U.S. will develop epilepsy (Epilepsy Foundation).
Statistics indicates that 95 percent of patients and caregivers feel that the public is unaware of its prevalence in the U.S. Surprisingly, 58 percent of patients have kept their disease hidden from others (Eisai Inc./The Epilepsy Foundation Survey: Conducted by Wakefield Research).
Eisai, a health company, geared toward disease prevention continues its support to facilitate dialogue about epilepsy through Medikidz.
Through a fictional comic book called, Medikidz, people better learn about diseases. In the first edition of “Medikidz Explain Epilepsy,” readers were introduced to epilepsy through a character named Jack; however, the second edition called, “Medikidz Explain Seizure Dog” introduces 11-year-old Joel.
In the book, readers become more familiar about the physical and emotional concerns associated with epilepsy and how the disease can affect children at school and in their social lives. It also details the benefits of patients having a seizure assistance dog. The book encourages continued dialogue about living with the disease.
“Raising awareness about epilepsy at a young age is more important than ever as stigma about the condition persists,” said James W. Wheless, MD, Professor and Chief of Pediatric Neurology, and a peer reviewer of the book.
The stigma that surrounds epilepsy is likely because of the unknown. The disease is purported to have been around nearly 4,000 years; however, there’s a lack of information. Although having the disease can create barriers, there are effective options to manage symptoms.
“I hope it’ll educate them about epilepsy and seizure assistance dogs,” said Joel Wilcox, the inspiration behind the new comic book.
Joel was 7-years-old when he was first diagnosed and has been able to manage his symptoms through proper resources, his aid at school and his seizure assistance dog Flame. According to Joel’s mom Amy, she’s noticed an improvement in his stress level since having Flame as a companion.
“We also manage his epilepsy with diet restrictions in combination with his other therapies. He’s gluten and dairy-free to keep down inflammation,” said Amy.
“Medikidz Explain Seizure Dog” is great at incorporating honest dialogue, yet illustrating creative artwork for kids. The book is available online through Medikidz.
To learn how your kid could be the next medikidz star, visit the Advancing Epilepsy Care website.