Rockford mum raises epilepsy awareness by painting a fire hydrant

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — November is “National Epilepsy Awareness Month,” so a local mom is raising awareness with a painted fire hydrant.

One in 26 Americans will develop epilepsy in their lifetime. That’s why the artist behind the decorated fire hydrant said raising disease awareness is such an important mission.

“They’re not taught there’s epilepsy there, you know, and it’s very upsetting,” said Jessica Angeli, who has epilepsy.

Angeli was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was 4 years old. Now 31, she said it was easy to feel like she had no purpose after coping with the disease for so long.

“I couldn’t do normal things like the other kids, like I couldn’t swim by myself, I couldn’t go camping by myself, all that stuff,” Angeli said. “Just children, ordinary children have to do, I had nothing to do at all and it’s very sad, that’s why I’m crying.”

Stephanie King, a local mum, knows these challenges all too well. Her kid is an “epilepsy warrior,” which is why she painted a fire hydrant on Hawkins and Jarvis and Winnebago black and purple. Angeli was cheating or treating earlier this week when she came across the epileptic fire hydrant.

She said she was so happy to see the attention being given to the disorder she battles every day.

“I went to Facebook and thanked them because I don’t think epilepsy is getting the recognition it should,” Angeli said.

For King, the decorated fire hydrant was a good way to plead. She and Angeli want people to understand that everyone’s experience is different, so people should try not to judge.

“My hair is quite long and I’m at the point where my boyfriend has to help me with the back of my hair,” Angeli said. “Just to get out of the house, you pretty much depend on someone. I can’t even walk down the street because it’s too hot and I’m having fits.

Knowing what to do in the event of a seizure can save lives, according to King.

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