Sparta boy featured in comic book about epilepsy
'Medikidz Explain Epilepsy' available free for download
SPARTA — Jack Dau, a 14 year old Sparta resident, has been battling epilepsy for years and has now been given the opportunity to share his story on a much broader scale. His story is now featured in "Medikidz Explain Epilepsy" — a comic book written by MediKidz and sponsored by Eisai — to help explain living with epilepsy to people throughout the country.
Becoming involved in the project was an easy choice for Dau.
"I heard about it from The Epilepsy Foundation of NJ," he said. "I thought it was a great idea and that it would be helpful and cool to be in a comic book."
His parents also encouraged his participation.
"I think when people first learn about this they will know that people are not talking about epilepsy," his mother, Sarah explained. "Jack has one form that can easily go unnoticed and this is a good way to raise awareness. It helps when someone speaks out and helps when people learn what happens and what the brain does and that Jack can go on and enjoy his life and understand that there are resources."
Dau was able to share his story with MediKidz to make sure that the information in the comic book was accurate.
"They called and we had a phone interview and they gave me a first draft of the book," he explained. "All of my friends thought it was really cool. They all congratulated me for it and my family did too."
Courage to tell his story
While being included in such a project is fun for Dau, he also wanted to participate because the story will be a helpful teaching tool.
"I hope people will learn what happens during a seizure and it will help better way to explain than just by telling them," Dau explained.
Dau wasn't always so forthright about his condition. He received encouragement from a teacher though.
"I was afraid to express myself about it until my third grade teacher, Mrs. Smith, encouraged me to write a letter when I was in the hospital for an EEG," he said. "My whole class sent me a poster telling me how brave I was."
"More than one in three children with epilepsy (36 percent) keep their condition a secret because they don't want to be treated differently, while nearly one in four parents (23 percent) also choose not to disclose the diagnosis in an effort to protect their child from the stigma often associated with epilepsy," according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM).
Dau knows that he has an opportunity to teach other people about epilepsy and wants to help with that.
"I want to help people to learn about what it is and what happens to the brain during a seizure and this is a more fun way to do that."
Eisai Inc., a leader in epilepsy based in Woodcliff Lake, N.J., is a proud supporter of "Medikidz Explain Epilepsy." Eisai hopes that this story educates children and provides clarity to the misperceptions around the disease to ultimately help erode the existing stigma.
The book is available free of charge at www.eisaiepilepsy.com.
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