Los Altos High School senior Miranda Adams spent more than two years completing prerequisites and planning her Girl Scout Gold Award project – assembling backpacks for a summer camp for children with epilepsy.
Adams’ project dovetails with her personal experience: at 9-years-old, doctors diagnosed her with epilepsy.
“I felt alone in my struggles with it, because I don’t know anyone with epilepsy,” she said. “That’s why I wanted to do something like this. It really helps to know that there are other kids struggling with the same thing.”
Adams stuffed 90 backpacks with keepsakes and supplies that campers at the Jason Fleishman Summer Camp in Estes Park, Colo., often don’t get, because most financial resources are devoted to campers’ medical needs.
She wanted campers to return home with a souvenir to remember their camp experience, and she hoped to forge strong connections between campers and the surrounding community, encouraging local residents to participate in her efforts.
Adams conducted a two-hour event July 21 in Colorado, assembling the camp-provided sacks in time for a July 25 start date and inviting passersby to “learn a little about epilepsy and put a backpack or two together,” she said.
Closer to home, a number of Los Altos residents participated in the backpack project as well. Nail salons donated shoes; local resident Allan Adler, founder of sports toy company Aerobie, provided Frisbees; and Adams purchased the rest – including flashlights, decks of cards, sketchbooks and colored pencils – with earnings from a local garage sale and individual donations.
“After some girls came up to me and said how much they loved the backpacks and what was in them, that made it really worth it,” Adams said.
Adams plans to continue promoting awareness about epilepsy by joining the Youth Council of Epilepsy Foundation of Northern California and working as a junior camp counselor at Jason Fleishman next summer.
Nearly 3 million Americans suffer from epilepsy, with more than 200,000 diagnoses arising each year, making epilepsy as prevalent as breast cancer.
For more information on epilepsy, visit www.epilepsyfoundation.org.