In May of 2011, just after his second birthday, our son Anthony experienced his first seizure. Not knowing it was a seizure, we went on with our daily lives. Noticing the same thing here and there we became concerned. That August, we took Anthony to the emergency department at McMaster Children's Hospital to see if they could figure out what it was that he was having. After only one week he had an appointment for an EEG and exactly one week after that he was diagnosed with "Epilepsy".
Anthony was immediately put on medication which, in time, we found didn't work. He was averaging 20 seizures per day. We visited McMaster Children's Hospital on a monthly basis for EEGs, blood work and routine visits with his paediatric neurologist. After switching medications numerous times and even trying a ketogenic diet, we thought that nothing would work; that is until Dr. Gabriel Ronen (our angel in disguise) suggested that we try Anthony on a high dose of steroids for 1 month. After only 4 days Anthony was seizure free. He had not gone one day in 10 months without a seizure and just like that they disappeared. We were beyond amazed with the results.
It has been over six years now that Anthony has been seizure free. Without Dr. Gabriel Ronen and McMaster Children's Hospital, we don't know how our family would have dealt with this. They saved our son's life. Many families have not been as lucky as us. With everything they did for us, we want to continue to give back and help other children and families dealing with this terrible disorder. No child should have to suffer through an illness and no parent should have to see their child suffer.
Since we founded An Evening of Awareness in 2013, we have raised over $225,000 with many friends, family members and corporate partners demonstrating their support along the way. We will be hosting our 5th An Evening of Awareness dinner/dance fundraiser and auction in support of McMaster Children's Hospital's Paediatric Neurology and Epilepsy Program on September 27, 2019 at The Grand Olympia in Stoney Creek.
Our goal this time is to raise $60,000, which will be split between Dr. Ronen's groundbreaking Epilepsy research and the purchase of a cortical stimulator. This device allows an electrical current to be applied to specific brain regions during surgery and has the potential to reduce neurologic complications.
We are the only Epilepsy fundraiser for McMaster Children's Hospital and the only one of its kind in south-central Ontario. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care funds capital projects but not specialized equipment such as this, so fundraisers like ours are critical to children and families dealing with Epilepsy. We are asking for your help in raising this much needed money.
Melissa and Ian Thompson
Date: September 27, 2019 - Doors open at 5:30 pm; Dinner is served at 7 pm
Location: The Grand Olympia Hospitality & Convention Centre - 660 Barton Street, Stoney Creek, ON L8E 5L6
Cost: $100 per adult (includes dinner, Live Band, masquerade mask and full open bar from 6 pm to 1 am)
Dress: Black Tie/Formal Attire