WASHINGTON, March 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Melissa Reff, 16, of Vienna and Malina Richardson, 15, of Ashland, will travel to Washington, D.C. to raise awareness about epilepsy and how it affects the life of a child who experiences seizures. They will participate in the Epilepsy Foundation's annual Kids Speak Up! event from March 27 through March 29, and become a part of the democratic process to make a difference for the nearly 3 million people coping with the disorder.
Kids Speak Up! is a national program that rallies young ambassadors with epilepsy between the ages of 8 and 18 to become advocates in their local communities and in the nation's capital. Their mission is to personally petition congressional leaders for aid in assuring better access to care, improved public education and awareness about epilepsy and more research toward a cure.
As 2 of 45 Kids Speak Up! spokespersons, Reff and Richardson will participate in a three-day training to learn more about epilepsy, develop their public speaking skills, and learn the importance of advocacy. The highlight of the trip will be a meeting with their state representative.
"Children who experience seizures are often treated differently in their community and feel shunned by their peers," said Rich Denness, president and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation. "Kids Speak Up! is vital because it connects youth who share the same dreams and face the same challenges, and it empowers the leaders of tomorrow."
Epilepsy is the most common neurological condition in children. It affects more than 326, 000 children under the age of 15 and each year approximately 45,000 children under age 15 are diagnosed with the disorder.
About the Epilepsy Foundation
The Epilepsy Foundation, a national nonprofit with affiliated organizations throughout the United States, has led the fight against epilepsy since 1968. The Foundation's mission is to stop seizures, find a cure and overcome the challenges created by epilepsy. For additional information, please visit www.epilepsyfoundation.org.
SOURCE Epilepsy Foundation