Event: At Camp Blackhawk, epilepsy is the norm. So to raise scholarship dollars to help kids with epilepsy experience overnight camp, “Seize the Stage,” a musical revue benefit program of the Epilepsy Foundation of greater Chicago took to the stage at the Wilmette Community Recreation Center on July 30.
More than 200 attendees cheered on some 20 performers, aged 12-85, as they sang, danced and performed their hearts out for this important cause.
Camp Blackhawk, a program of the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago, is an overnight camp for children ages 6-17 with mild to severe epilepsy designed so they can experience activities, sports and friendships in a safe and medically-monitored setting. Over the past four years, the Seize the Stage concerts have raised more than $10,000 to help send children to Camp Blackhawk.
Cause célèbre: “One in 26 people will develop epilepsy at any point in their life,” explained Sammi Gassel of Wilmette, former founder and president of the Epilepsy Foundation Youth Council and current Peer Alliance board member. Diagnosed with epilepsy when she was just 13, Gassel has been seizure-free for more than five years and now spends her time doing advocacy and education about the disease.
“It could happen to anyone but, beyond that, anyone can relate to the feeling of feeling left out, feeling ashamed of something that they have (or) some sort of medical condition. The Epilepsy Foundation really works to help people who have epilepsy to feel included and feel empowered to do anything that other people can do.”
As a former camp counselor, show co-producer Kenzie Parry of Skokie added: “I think it’s great that Camp Blackhawk makes it possible for children with epilepsy to have the same opportunity as those without.”
Bottom line: The event raised $5230 for scholarship programs. To donate, go to: gofundme.com/3mols0.