A three-year-old from Narangba is the face of Epilepsy Queensland’s Christmas Appeal which will help families whose lives have been affected by the condition.
Just weeks after her third birthday, Kaylee was diagnosed with epilepsy and her parents were worried their daughter’s childhood would never be the same.
They noticed Kaylee falling over and suspected she may have vertigo, until one morning she crawled into their bed and the entire left side of her body went stiff.
Kaylee was quickly referred to the Children’s Hospital for investigation and was diagnosed with epilepsy.
“We were so lost,” explains Kaylee’s mum Aleisha, “we were in a daze of disbelief”.
Epilepsy can suddenly interrupt a family’s life.
“We withdrew from leaving the house and it was months before we had the strength and confidence to go out again,” Aleisha says.
Now, with a helping hand from Epilepsy Queensland, Kaylee is looking forward to celebrating Christmas – just like every other three-year-old girl.
In fact, Epilepsy Queensland has chosen her to be the face of its 2021 Christmas Appeal.
Chief Executive Chris Dougherty says: “Kaylee’s smile and cheeky personality won over the whole office, and we are thankful that her family are able to share their story to help raise funds and awareness for other children diagnosed with epilepsy.”
Following her epilepsy diagnosis this year, Kaylee and her family’s summer plans were put on hold and activities many children take for granted were suddenly off limits.
Kaylee had to take a break from kindergarten and swimming lessons and her parents were on duty 24-hours a day to watch for seizures.
When navigating Kaylee’s diagnosis, her family found hope by reaching out to Epilepsy Queensland for support.
“Epilepsy Queensland has helped us to understand that we are not alone,” Aleisha says.
“They provided resources to help Kaylee and we found people we can talk to, to help us cope.”
Each year the Epilepsy Queensland Helpline answers more than 3500 calls for help from families just like Kaylee’s. The 2021 Christmas Appeal hopes to raise $30,000 to ensure more children like Kaylee can be supported to live their life well.
Getting a diagnosis is not the end of a child’s epilepsy journey – it is just the beginning. Learning to live with epilepsy can be overwhelming.
“We are heartbroken that our little girl has to go through this, knowing it is lifelong,” Aleisha says.
Kaylee and her family have hope for a bright future but for now they are focused on enjoying a happy Christmas and a summer holiday filled with plenty of trips to the beach and the pool.
To donate to the Epilepsy Queensland Christmas Appeal, visit myimpact.epilepsyqueensland.com.au/the-epilepsy-christmas-appeal or phone 1300 852 853
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