Student helps raise awareness of epilepsy with visit to school

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VERONA — To help raise awareness of epilepsy in conjunction with Tuesday’s worldwide Purple Day observance, the Vernon-Verona-Sherrill school district saw students wear purple and also brought in a guest speaker.

Julia Petreikis, a senior at Clinton High School who has epilepsy and plays competitive soccer, visited VVS middle school health classes to teach students about signs, symptoms and effects of having epilepsy, announced the district.

Petreikis, daughter of VVS teacher aide Lisa Petreikis, explained the BRAIN acronym for convulsive seizure first aid: Be calm; Remove dangerous objects; Always time the seizure; If a person has fallen, turn on side and put something soft under their head; Never put anything in their mouth or hold the person down. She also taught students how to help someone after a seizure, and how to treat people with epilepsy.

“It’s important to be kind to anyone who has a disability, and include them in the things you do,” Petreikis told the class. “I have three types of epilepsy, but I still play competitive soccer and can do all of the things anyone else can do.”

Students were extremely engaged in the presentation, said the district, and after Petreikis was finished they asked many questions for which she took the time to answer each one and explain her experiences along with many situations she faced.

Student Bridgette Robinson enjoyed the event, saying “it was cool to learn about the different types of seizures and how to help someone....The presentation was well put together and was very interesting.” Nick Burke said “the best part was when people asked her questions and she was explaining all of the answers in detail. I liked it because you get more of an understanding and get to hear her perspective.”

Petreikis will attend Sage in the fall, where she signed a commitment letter to play soccer as a Gator, said the VVS district.

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