Epilepsy awareness has always been a priority for a Richmond student, and she is now asking for more epilepsy funding through the British Columbia Youth Parliament (BCYP).
Marika Lopez, who lives with epilepsy, is in her second year as a member of BCYP, a youth-led organization that promotes youth services in the community.
Lopez told the Richmond News she noticed during her time at the BCYP that there was a lack of funding for epilepsy research.
But it was only this year that she was able to present her Parliamentary Resolution (PMR) – similar to a private member’s bill – during a BCYP debate.
“Last year, we had so many debates about silly stuff that we couldn’t get to my (resolution) or other big questions on the list,” Lopez said. She originally wanted to talk about the importance of epilepsy funding already last year.
“This year I raised it again and mine was second or third on the debate list and I was very excited for that.”
During the debate, Lopez felt empowered hearing many young members stand up and support increased funding for epilepsy.
“To see members stand up and say they know someone with epilepsy and why it’s not being talked about more or why it’s not being researched more was just amazing.”
At one point, a member said epilepsy was “as common as breast cancer,” which surprised even Lopez herself.
“We’ve all heard of breast cancer and we all know it, we even have Breast Cancer Awareness Month and lots of people donate to the cause, but it really shows just how much breast cancer research Epilepsy is underfunded,” she added.
Lopez’s resolution was reviewed by the BCYP board and passed. This means that its provincial secretary within the youth organization will contact the professionals and organizations concerned with the debate on its resolution.
“I hope there can be a change, because not only is it important to me personally, but also to many others who have also been affected by epilepsy or who know friends and family who have been.”