Carlie Ice, 14, of Fairmont, West Virginia, an eighth-grader at East Fairmont Middle School, increases awareness of epilepsy – a disease she shares with 3.5 million other Americans – by speaking to groups as a teen representative of the West Virginia chapter of the Epilepsy Foundation (EFWV), and raises money for research with lemonade stands, pumpkin-painting contests and a community walk. Carlie, an avid soccer player, sometimes has seizures on and off the field. “My mom told me how important it was for me to make sure I was safe doing the things I loved,” Carlie said. She also recognized that sometimes she was treated differently and not included in things. “I knew some of the reason was because people were scared or didn’t understand epilepsy,” she said. So Carlie, with the help of her mother, set out to change that.
They started by teaching her soccer and volleyball clubs about seizure first aid and safety, in case they were present when she or someone else had an attack. After being selected as a teen representative for EFWV, she began speaking at schools and demonstrating ways to help a person during a seizure. Carlie also began raising money to support people with epilepsy, first by hosting a lemonade stand that featured informational materials and first-aid wallet cards, as well as lemonade. In addition, she challenged classmates to paint Halloween pumpkins purple and make donations to vote for their favorite design. And she helped organize a Walk to END Epilepsy, raising more than $14,000. Carlie also has lobbied members of Congress from her state to support funding for epilepsy research and education.