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Annual Chocolate Ball goes online to support camp for kids with epilepsy



Rochester, New York – Camp is an escape for 14-year-old Sydney Radcliff.

“It’s comforting. You don’t have to worry about other people being scared and judging you. You don’t have to worry about people judging you for having epilepsy and stuff,” said Sydney.

Mike Radell is the camp director. This summer will mark Sydney’s sixth time at Camp EAGR, part of EPI or Empowering People’s Independence.

“These kids get to come to camp and experience what every other kid in the world experiences, but in a safe atmosphere. They have neurologists and nurse practitioners and counselors there that get it,” said Radell.

When she was just 3 years old, Sydney had her first seizure. From then on, her mom was cautious. Sydney didn’t attend sleepovers let along the camp. Then they found Camp EAGR.

“At camp, she does have her fun time, her campfires. There are doctors and a lot of staff watching them. I get emails and it’s a safe, wonderful place,” said Sydney’s mom Tammy.

“The people there are really nice, and you don’t have to be insecure about having epilepsy because everyone has it so you can always meet new friends,” said Sydney.

“When they arrive at camp, they have something instantly in common with everyone else there. The counselors, the staff that are there, and the other kids. They get it, they understand what it’s like to live a life with epilepsy,” said Radell.

EPI typically hosts an annual Chocolate Ball to support Camp EAGR and its other programs, but COVID-19 forced that fundraiser online again this year.

The donations are critical to keep the camp going.

“Your child might not be going through this, but somebody else’s child might be and that helps them live a normal life,” said Tammy.

It’s about friendships that will last a lifetime for Sydney.

“The people there, if you talk to them during camp, that whole week — you could never talk to them the whole summer and then come back next year at camp and you could be like you never stopped talking over the summer. It’s kind of crazy, but also really cool,” she said.

You can support Camp EAGR this year with the Chocolate Ball TO GO!

Special chocolate treats are being sold online to benefit the organization while the event isn’t being held in person.