Local teen creating epilepsy awareness - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Local teen creating epilepsy awareness

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A high school sophomore in Cedar Falls named Kendall Maslak is your typical girl; she loves telling stories.

"I like high school because I like seeing Shawnee, and I like seeing Kristen," Kendall tells KWWL.

"You like seeing your friends," said her mom, Fadua Maslak.

Kendall also enjoys performing with her UNI all-inclusive dance group. But Kendall has to be careful her activities don't cause a seizure.

"Very scary and they don't ever get easier," said Fadua.

"No matter when you see a seizure, you are always on edge," continued, Kendall's dad, Ed Maslak.

Kendall has battled epilepsy most of her life.

"Kendall was 17-months-old and we were in Arizona. All of a sudden, she froze up and we didn't know what to do," recalls Fadua.

Several surgeries and countless medications later, the Maslak family has learned to navigate a world they never thought they would be in.

But they've made the best of it, becoming leaders in epilepsy awareness.

"Opportunity for people with epilepsy to be normal people, typical kids, and just interact; that to me, continues to be the biggest challenge," said Ed.

"It is breaking the stigma; is probably the biggest piece. People don't understand it and are afraid to question it. It is one of the reasons we always do Epilepsy Awareness Month," continued Fadua.

Along with breaking down stereotypes, the Maslaks are big advocates of accessible medical marijuana.

"With her current medications, we are reaching the maximum dosages. When people talk about the medical cannabis, that would most likely be an option we would pursue if we continue to have the type of issues we have seen here lately," said Ed.

The Maslaks have traveled to D.C. to speak with state senators and representatives about epilepsy, and the importance of medical marijuana to those suffering from seizures.

Locally, the family is leaders in support groups and forums about the neurological disorder.

For more information on epilepsy and opportunities to get involved, head to the Epilepsy Foundation of Iowa's website.

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