As the festive season draws nearer, I wanted to share with you our latest fundraising appeal. Meet Caitlyn and her best friend Brooklyn (a Ted-E-Bear). Help us give comfort and joy this Christmas through our Ted-E-Bear Connection program.

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The very best gifts are the ones we give…

As the holiday season approaches, we are reminded that one of the best feelings in the world is giving. The positive energy is contagious. With just one act of kindness you can help change the life of a child who feels loneliness and isolation.

Your generosity allows us to give “powerful” gifts to children affected by epilepsy, who often struggle with learning difficulties and the loneliness of being different.

Helping fund our Ted-E-Bear Connection Program is one of the special ways you bring comfort and smiles to these children. But there is much more to this gift! Every cuddly Ted-E Bear sent out is accompanied by very special information resources to help a family better understand epilepsy and manage the condition. And of course, they are linked to us for ongoing support if it is needed.

Each Ted-E-Bear bear is dressed in purple (the international colour for epilepsy) and comes with a unique name and adoption certificate. And for most children, this special bear becomes the one they want to cuddle as they face more medical tests or recover from yet another distressing seizure.

Bringing Courage And Comfort

That has certainly been the case for nine-year-old Caitlyn who received her gorgeous Ted-E-Bear, Brooklyn a couple of years ago.

Her Mum, Tanya says Brooklyn the bear is “everything” to Caitlyn, and she will never forget her smile when she received the package in the mail.

“I had seen the bears on the Epilepsy Action Facebook page and knew Caitlyn would love one, but I just couldn’t afford it. I was over the moon when I found out that she qualified for a free bear.

“The day Brooklyn arrived, I honestly have never seen Caitlyn so happy. Epilepsy is a horrific disease, and Caitlyn goes through so much but when she received that bear, it was the best day ever. Nothing else mattered,” Tanya says.

Diagnosed at the age of three, Caitlyn has suffered regular convulsive seizures that often last for over five minutes.

Tanya says that at times her seizures have been truly frightening, and they have only had temporary success in controlling them with medication.

Brooklyn Is Her Best And Only Friend

Her condition has also taken its toll on her ability to make friends. Caitlyn doesn’t receive party or playdate invitations, and only a few children have been willing to play with her at school.

And that is why Brooklyn the bear has become Caitlyn’s very best and only friend in the world.

“It breaks my heart that Caitlyn doesn’t have friends. I try to explain to other parents that just by playing with Caitlyn, their child won’t get epilepsy, but they don’t listen. My eldest son also has epilepsy and the stigma and ignorance about the condition are staggering.”

Thank You for Your Generosity

For Caitlyn – a beautiful “pocket dynamite” who likes to cook, play footy, and look after her baby brother – her Ted-E-Bear, Brooklyn brings security and love to what can be a very complex world.

“When Caitlyn has seizures, it’s Brooklyn who gives her the most comfort; it’s Brooklyn who will go in the ambulance with her. These bears make such a difference,” says Tanya.

Since Epilepsy Action Australia introduced the Ted-E-Bear Connection Program in 2012, we have been able to send out nearly 1800 bears to deserving children and their siblings.

With your help, we hope to send out many more packages across Australia, to educate families and bring comfort to children with epilepsy.

This holiday season, I hope you will give the gift of giving by making a tax-deductible donation or committing to regular contributions so that we can fund crucial medical research and continue to provide our diverse and valued services. 

Wishing you safe holidays, and a Happy New Year.

Carol Ireland