CONTACT Helping kids with epilepsy - Dr. Christian Thurstone

Three years ago, 16-year-old Chelsea Hutchison died after experiencing a seizure in her sleep.

The official cause of death: Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy, or SUDEP, which accounts for roughly 18 percent of deaths of people with epilepsy. No one knows exactly what causes SUDEP. However, as SUDEP Aware notes:

“Various potential mechanisms have been proposed, and these mainly involve the cardiac and/or respiratory systems.  It is unknown whether mechanisms are jointly or severally responsible, what leads to the fatal cardiac event and/or the cessation of breathing, what role the brain and/or seizure plays in the whole process or, indeed, whether the same events trigger SUDEP in each person.”

Chelsea’s parents, Doug and Julie, sprang into action and established The Chelsea Hutchison Foundation. The nonprofit organization raises money for the training and placement of service dogs for young people with epilepsy and for Emfit monitors, which can be placed under a bed to alert caregivers or family members of the abnormal movements of a sleeping person.

You want to “Be the Change?” Consider supporting this noble cause. You could make a donation online and connect with the foundation on Facebook, where you can communicate directly with foundation officials.

About Christine Tatum

Christine Tatum is a veteran journalist whose communications and market intel firm, Media Salad, Inc., helps companies and nonprofit organizations win business and stay ahead of their competitors. Her professional stops include the Chicago Tribune, The Denver Post, the (Arlington Heights, Ill.) Daily Herald and the (Greensboro, N.C.) News & Record. Her work also has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, and New York Times.

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