Epilepsy Foundation Teen Ambassadors from Kansas, Missouri share excitement from D.C. trip

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Get ready to hear more about Epilepsy in Kansas and Missouri.  Two teenaged ambassadors with the Epilepsy Foundation of Missouri and Kansas just returned from a national convention in Washington D.C.

I interviewed Lexi Harmon, Teen Ambassador from Kansas and Emily Ranza, Teen Ambassador from Kansas on 41 Action News Midday on Thursday.  Jim Townsend, program director of the Epilepsy Foundation of Kansas and Missouri was also a guest.  Townsend talked about the prevalence of Epilepsy in Kansas and Missouri.

Townsend explained epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes people to have seizures.

"One in 26 people will be diagnosed with epilepsy in their lifetime," Townsend said.

In Kansas, 37,500 children and 22,500 adults are living with epilepsy.  In Missouri 72,000 children and 58,600 adults have been diagnosed with epilepsy.

Harmon and Ranza just returned from a national conference of teenagers living with epilepsy where they met with U.S. Representatives and Senators on Capitol Hill advocating to get more support for epilepsy.

Both girls called it an empowering event.

"The most exciting thing for me was getting together with other teenagers from other states that also have epilepsy," Ranza said. "It was nice to talk with people my age who know are going through the same things I'm going through.”

Harmon said she returned from Washington D.C. more committed than ever to help teach people about epilepsy.

"More than anything, I want people to know that when I have a seizure they don't need to over-react or be afraid. I just want them to know that it's something that happens to me and when I wake up I'm going to be okay," Harmon added.

The gala event at the Carriage House in April for the Epilepsy Foundation for Kansas and Missouri raised $47,000.  Now the group is focused on raising awareness about its upcoming walk on November 16 in Corporate Woods.

To find out more epilepsy contact the foundation at 816-44-2800 or toll-free on 800-972-5163. You can also visit them at http://www.efmk.org/.

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