STAUNTON, Va -- Epilepsy is more common than you think, but one family said a lot of people do not know enough about it. They didn't until their young daughter was diagnosed with it.
In honor of Epilepsy Awareness Month, they shared their story with a WHSV reporter.
Madison White is 5 years old and epileptic. Vicky White, her mother, said she never knows when she will have a seizure, so she has to keep her close.
"Most of my family calls me the helicopter mom, haha," said Vicky.
Vicky said she found out Madison had epilepsy in February and that she has already had several seizures this year. Most of them leave Madison blind for hours.
"I was upset and I was mad because she's my kid and you never want to think your kid has a life-threatening disorder because a lot of people don't know epilepsy can cause death. It causes a lot of issues."
Lots of issues of which the family was not aware. Corey White, Madison's father, said he wishes there was more support for epilepsy out there.
"It feels awful as a parent of a child that has something wrong with them and you don't even know what to do about it because no one can even tell you about it because there's not enough information out there," said Corey.
Suzanne Bischoff is the director of the Epilepsy Foundation in Virginia. She said what Madison has can be dangerous, but it depends what the person is doing at the time of a seizure.
"It is not a major life threatening thing,” said Bischoff. “It can be life threatening in some instances, but the possibility to die during a seizure is extremely remote."
There may be a small chance of death, but it is still scary for these parents to see their daughter go through this.
"I have to protect her. She has no one else to protect her but me," said Vicky.
Bischoff says about 1,000 people in the Staunton and the Augusta County area have epilepsy and about 300 of those people are children.
The Whites hope more people in the Valley will come together to support this issue. For more information about the Epilepsy Foundation of Virginia, you can visit their website here: www.efva.org/
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