Family’s goal to raise awareness starts with a penny drive

Shelby Kemery was epileptic. Diagnosed at eight years old, she spent the larger part of her life dealing with seizures.

On May 21, 2011, Shelby passed away at her home in High River, Alta., from Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy, or SUDEP. She was 19 years old.

SUDEP patients are often reasonably healthy before they die suddenly and without warning. There is no apparent cause of death in those individuals who pass away from it.

Produced by Danielle Semrau

On the anniversary of her death, Shelby’s family decided to distribute jars for a penny drive in their town.

Since May, the Kemery’s penny drive has raised over $4,000, all of which has been donated to the Epilepsy Association of Calgary.

Mandy Kemery, Shelby’s mother, said she was drawn to the association because it provides opportunities for others to be educated about epilepsy.

“Our whole goal has been to educate as many people as we can so it snowballs,” she said. “The more we talk about it, the more questions people ask. The more questions people ask, the more information you get out there. This is not going to stop for us.”

dsemrau@cjournal.ca