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Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry Dedicates Day to Protect Children from Epilepsy

For immediate release:
Aguiar-Curry with Griess Family

Aguiar-Curry with Griess Family

Sacramento, CA – HR 114, authored by Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D – Winters), passed on the Assembly floor earlier this week with overwhelming bipartisan support. The resolution dedicates October 26, 2018 as Pediatric Epilepsy Day.

Epilepsy is the most common brain disorder worldwide-affecting 1 percent of the population, yet receives half of one percent of the annual National Institute of Health funding. Sudden Death in Epilepsy accounts for 34% of all sudden deaths in children and 50 percent of cases begin in childhood. HR 114 raises awareness to the dangers of pediatric epilepsy and urgently motivates families to get an early diagnosis and treatment.

“While epilepsy can begin at any age, it most commonly occurs in children, and research indicates that seizures can damage a child’s developing brain,” said Assemblymember Aguilar-Curry. “Many of us know people in our lives that have been affected by this condition. It is so important that people are aware of the impacts pediatric epilepsy can have on children and also their families. That is why HR 114 is so important. We must do more to educate people on how epilepsy can affect our youngest.”

HR 114 is inspired by Mikayla “Mickie” Griess. When she was three months old she had her first seizure. By nine months old, she had failed over eight anti-seizure medications and was diagnosed with Intractable Epilepsy and Infantile Spasms.

“Epilepsy in an infant is different than an adult. A child’s brain is not fully developed which makes it vulnerable to epileptic storms,” said Dr. Mary Zupanc, Division Chief of Pediatric Neurology at the University of California Irvine and Director of the CHOC Children’s Hospital Neuroscience Institute. “Therefore, early diagnosis and prompt treatment can have a large impact on the child’s quality of life.”

The day before Mickie’s first birthday she had brain surgery to remove the Parietal, Occipital and Temporal lobes of the left hemisphere of her brain in order to combat the seizures. Today, Mickie goes to dance class, takes voice and piano lessons, loves swim class and spends half of her school day in a mainstream first grade class.

Mickie’s mother Kristie Griess, founded Mickie’s Miracles, a non-profit dedicated to giving other children access to the same opportunity and treatment that saved Mickie’s life. 

“Undiagnosed pediatric epilepsy is devastating to thousands of California children every year,” said Griess. “This resolution is the first step in our efforts to raise awareness and catalyze support for legislative action that will lead to faster diagnosis, more effective treatments, lower long-term costs and a higher quality of life for each child affected by epilepsy.”

Aguiar-Curry represents the 4th Assembly District, which includes all of Lake and Napa Counties, all of Yolo County except West Sacramento, and parts of Colusa County, Solano County, and Sonoma County.