Kym Meers: The Epilepsy Centre SA: Westfield Local Heroes 2019
Supporting and informing families on their epilepsy journey
Humble. Devoted. Selfless
Kym Meers could not find enough information or support when her daughter Izla was diagnosed with a catastrophic form of epilepsy at the age of four months.
Izla has West Syndrome and the family were told she would “never do anything developmentally”.
However, when she started to walk at the age of two, Kym wanted to save other families from the same lack of information and founded Izla's Purple Crusade.
“We bring communities together,” says Kym, whose work is closely aligned with The Epilepsy Centre SA.
In the past seven years, the Crusade has raised close to one hundred and fifty thousand dollars to support children and families with epilepsy.
The money goes towards seizure monitors, children’s camps, community support and information sharing.
Thanks to one of the biggest fundraisers, every hospital in the state has pamphlets for people to take home after a diagnosis.
Kym is delighted to be voted a Westfield Local Hero. “It is a wonderful feeling to be acknowledged for the thousands of hours of volunteer work I have done. But as much as I drive the Purple Crusade, I am supported by an amazing community of people.”
Kym describes living with epilepsy as a rollercoaster ride. “It is heartbreaking because you can’t fix it and you never stop thinking about it.
“Our basic aim is inclusiveness of children with epilepsy, which quite often can come with disability as well, which our daughter has,” she says.
“What we would have loved back when Izla was diagnosed would have been a path to follow.”
In 2016 Kym won the prestigious Epilepsy Australia Golden Light award for the Purple Crusade, and in 2017 she was named an SA local hero.
Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation.
The Epilepsy Centre SA will use the grant to fund seizure monitors to keep people with epilepsy safe while they sleep.
“The benefit of the grant is that it will go back to families living with epilepsy,” says Kym.
For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here.