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Epilepsy group raises funds with rockin' event

July 30, 2012
By Kathleen Palumbo , Town Crier correspondent

A vast number of visitors to Cracker Barrel in Austintown this weekend were both on and off their rockers.

Hosting the eighth annual Mahoning Valley Epilepsy Foundation Rocking for Epilepsy Awareness and Support event at the Austintown eatery, the foundation asked for volunteers to spend an hour in a chair on July 21, rocking to help raise money for the cause.

Established in 1997 as a local non-profit agency dedicated to the prevention and control of epilepsy and its consequences, and to helping persons with epilepsy and their families overcome the problems associated with the disorder, Mahoning Valley Epilepsy Foundation serves children and adults.

Article Photos

With rockers of every size, Jojo Reddy found the perfect one in which to spend time following some face painting at the recent Mahoning Valley Epilepsy Foundation Rocking for Epilepsy Awareness and Support fundraiser held at Cracker Barrel in Austintown.

MVEF remains dedicated to establishing resources for the community to improve the quality of the lives of individuals and their families who are affected by seizure disorders through awareness, education, group support and advocacy, according to information provided by Marty Smith Subramanian, executive director, MVEF.

"It's my passion to serve people with epilepsy and their families," said Smith Subramanian, who knows first hand the value of the services - her 15-year-old son has epilepsy.

Serving people in Mahoning, Columbiana and Trumbull counties, the foundation wants to give people the tools they need and even go so far as to meet with schools and employers, Smith Subramanian said. "We want to be a support system," she said.

One in 100 individuals will be diagnosed with epilepsy, said Smith Subramanian, adding of that number, 30 percent will be children.

"We feel that as a community of people with epilepsy that it's important to share resources."

Each year, the Mahoning Valley Epilepsy Foundation, in conjunction with the Hine Memorial Foundation, sends individuals to Camp Frog, a summer camp for children and teens who have seizures, offering them a true camp experience in a safe, pragmatic manner, according to Smith Subramanian. The foundation also provides assistance to underinsured and uninsured adults.

Resources include networking with others who share like concerns, information on current treatments, and coping suggestions. Visitors to the MVEF website also can be directed to valuable sources of knowledge about living with a seizure disorder.

"This is her brainchild," said Smith Subramanian of former executive director Janet Mau, who originated the recent fundraising collaboration with Cracker Barrel, where entertainment changed every hour on the hour, and children were entertained by both Grotto clowns and face painting.

"We just try to make it a fun enjoyable time," said Smith Subramanian, who encourages visitors to the foundation site at



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