Meet Brianna. This 9-year-old Brewer girl is tackling epilepsy.
“It’s really sad and scary because I was afraid I would have no friends if I told people,” Brianna Jerome shares. “They would get scared of me.”
“It really took a long time to convince her that there were other children around here that have epilepsy because we didn’t know anybody and we didn’t have any other families to connect with,” says Marian, Briana’s mother.
The family hopes to change that by starting a local support system for families with epileptic children.
“Give them a chance to be together and be kids together but realize that they’re not alone and they’re not different,” her mother explains.
The first networking opportunity kicks off this weekend in Orrignton with the The Ride To End Childhood Epilepsy.
“I’ve been involved with some groups in the past that have done charity rides and last year Brianna came to me and said ‘daddy would you do a ride for me?’” her father, Paul, says.
Although Brianna rides a very cool scooter, this 120-mile round-trip motorcycle excursion will be lead by her father. There will be plenty of activities back in Orrington for non-riders.
“We’re inviting all families to come down. The kids can play the games, the games are a quarter a piece so it’s not anything expensive. It’s just to help with the fundraising and to invite families to be involved,” Marian says.
Proceeds will go to the Epilepsy Foundation of New England, which will help get the ball rolling on a support network in the area.
“They don’t know what we are going through and we don’t live a normal life like they do anymore,” Brianna tells.
There is a chance Brianna will outgrow epilepsy, but she and her family say they’re doing all they can in the meantime to help fight it.
“When we get up and she wakes up without having a seizure, we thank God we got through another night and when we face a night where she’s had one then we just tackle that head on too,” Marian shares.
The ride starts at 10 a.m. at the Ralph J. Pollard Masonic Lodge in Orrington. Registration begins at 8:30. Riders will travel through Bucksport, Belfast, China and back up to Orrington.
There will be games and activities for non-riders, with a barbecue starting at 11. For more information on The Ride to End Childhood Epilepsy, visit the event Facebook page.