The EpBears Story:
In 1997, Laura was undergoing tests for her epilepsy at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, WA. One of the tests involved 30 colorful electrodes attached around her head to locate where the seizures eminated. While undergoing this test, Laura's 3 year old niece, Annie, visited her. The sight of her aunt hooked up to so many electrodes scared the young girl and she clutched tightly to her little stuffed Bear. Annie loved to draw, so they drew her bear with electrodes and her brother, Bo, loved to act so he made up stories and everyone laughed. The laughter lightened the childrens visit & this inspired Laura to create the EpiBear character as a fun way to explain the procedures to Annie, Bo and young children.
The EpiBears Project:
EpiBears is a multi-faceted project created by professional artist Laura Kistner Mellow. Laura has faced the challenge of epilepsy and knows the fear such illnesses bring to those who share this challenge themselves or with others they know. The goal is to reassure & educate young children in a fun way.
EpiBears seeks to:
Offer comfort, understanding, and reassurance to children that are dealing with the challenge of epilepsy
Educate, reassure, and support those who love and care for these children
In the future EpiBears seeks to achieve these goals through:
Video, eCards, and online characters and stories
Books that are based on the character's stories
Development of the medic alert.
EpiBears Medic Alert:
After seeing the impact of the Epibear character on her niece, Laura realized that children who live with epilepsy may benefit from a medic alert. The medic alert comes in various designs with a caduseus on the medallion. Each is accompanied by a teddy bear charm and any important medical information can be engraved on the medallion. This attractive and charming piece of jewelry provides the wearer with a comforting, yet important, tool to address the illness.
Other Future EpiBears Projects:
Development of the EpiBears character based on stories explaining epilepsy and what it feels like to a child is another project Laura sees in her future. Laura seeks to replace the fear and stigma of epilepsy with knowledge and reassurance through video and books.