Brennan Yamaguchi, 12, of Honolulu, Hawaii, a sixth-grader at Maryknoll School, has raised awareness about epilepsy for the past five years by persuading his baseball team to play special epilepsy-awareness games, making presentations at his school, selling lemonade to raise money for research, and co-writing a bill requiring the posting of seizure first-aid information in public spaces and workplaces. Brennan got involved in his cause because his good friend has epilepsy. “I wanted to help her because people weren’t being nice to her and I didn’t like that people were doing bad things,” he said.
His first step was to recruit his baseball team to help him hold “Epilepsy and Seizure Awareness” games. To promote the games, he gave media interviews, solicited sponsorships, and distributed fliers and comic books about the neurological disorder. In addition, he gave a presentation to his entire grade about epilepsy and encouraged fellow students to wear purple, the official color for epilepsy awareness. Last year, Brennan engaged his state senator in his cause and co-wrote a bill that would provide information at worksites and in public places on how to help someone having a seizure. “The more people learn about epilepsy, the more people know what to do if someone has epilepsy,” said Brennan.