By Mimi Kinfe
Spreading Epilepsy Awareness (SEA) has been my greatest accomplishment as well as one of my greatest challenges during my time at UVA. I established SEA as a CIO during my second year after seeing a need for epilepsy awareness at UVA and the Charlottesville community as a whole. I learned that the main challenges starting a new organization at UVA are finding people that are just as passionate as you about your mission and planning the logistics of how the organization is going to run. Once SEA had been successfully established as a CIO, I felt proud that I saw a need and did what needed to be done to carry out my goals.
SEA is an organization that partners with the Epilepsy Foundation of Virginia, a non-profit organization right here in Charlottesville, to raise funding for epilepsy research, treatment, and advocacy, as well as raise awareness in the UVA and the Charlottesville community. Last year, we planned the first Purple Day in Charlottesville. Purple Day is a national epilepsy awareness holiday on March 26th. SEA planned a fun-filled event in the amphitheater with live music, crafts, games, and a table to talk about epilepsy facts and what the Epilepsy Foundation of Virginia does. We had a great turn-out including volunteers from Phi Sigma Pi Honor Fraternity and attendees from the UVA and Charlottesville community. We were even featured on NBC 29, where I gave an interview on SEA and our event. SEA members have also been active planners and volunteers of the Epilepsy Foundation of Virginia’s annual awareness stroll at the Downtown Mall, among other smallers events.
Moving forward, SEA plans to host a benefit gala to raise money and awareness for epilepsy. I’m excited to see where SEA is headed even after I graduate in May. I think we have a dedicated and passionate executive board to carry on the mission of SEA and continue to impact the UVA and Charlottesville community. SEA has been a huge part of my experience at UVA not only because has it allowed me to develop my leadership skills, but also because it has showed the direct impact of a mission-driven organization.