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Seizure Soldiers champion advancing cause

By Don Fennell

Published 2:56 PDT, Fri July 3, 2020

By every definition, Marika Lopez is a champion.

Eleven months ago (with the help of friend Danielle Cosco), she spearheaded the launch of Seizure Soldiers, an initiative to increase awareness of epilepsy. Since then, she’s only become more passionate about the plight.

Having now also launched a Facebook site with nearly 700 followers and an Instagram support group chat, she’s turned her attention to fundraising. She’s hoping to raise at least $250 for BC Children’s Hospital this month as a way to say thanks.

“They’ve done a lot for me in the past 15 years,” Richmond’s Lopez says. “I’m turning 18 this month, and BC Children’s Hospital has given me so much—from helping me after my first seizure to giving me a neurologist who’s now like an aunt to me, to giving me a medicine that has worked from the beginning.”

Lopez was only 18-months-old when she experienced her first seizure. She was then diagnosed with epilepsy at age three, and must constantly be aware of her health.

She’s also been burdened by ignorance. Though epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder affecting people of all ages, public misunderstanding causes those living with the disorder to sometimes face challenges arguably as difficult as the seizures.

“My goal is to raise awareness and educate others about the difficulties, while also trying to establish an accepting attitude toward epilepsy,” Lopez said upon starting Seizure Soldiers last summer.

That hasn’t changed.

“It is my hope that through this mission, it will also inspire others who face similar obstacles to start speaking up and sharing their stories,” she says. “We need to begin the necessary conversations.”

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