ONE HUG with Elly the travelling epilepsy bear and little Ella Dennent was on top of the world.
The seven-year-old, from Banksia Beach, was one of the first children in Queensland to receive a visit from Elly, who is on a trip to visit families nationwide, thanks to Epilepsy Action Australia and Epilepsy Parents Australia.
Elly dropped into the Dennent household last Monday with her travel diary in tow. Mum Kristine said Ella had fallen in love with Elly straight away.
"She absolutely adores the bear. I don't know how I'm going to give it up," she said.
"It's amazing how much of a difference it's made and she really loves fluffy toys anyway.
"When she gets home from school she pretends that she's at school again and her toys are her students. She just loves Elly the bear.
"They even went down the slide together and Ella showed all her friends. It was really sweet."
Ella has a rare complex form of epilepsy and is currently on three different types of medication. Her seizures started at 10 months of age.
"It was very scary," Kristine said. "Her seizures were really quite violent.
"She was in hospital for many months and she even had her first birthday in hospital so she was a mess.
"She's had a really rough trot. It's affected her cognitive skills and she has also been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder."
Although Elly will only spend a short amount of time with Ella and her family before moving on, Kristine said it made a difference to know that other families would have the same opportunity.
"The concept is a really lovely idea," she said.
"I was one of the people who started it but the epilepsy organisation took it on.
"A few of us actually mentioned that it would be a good idea for somebody to do it so they've actually taken it on board and it's gone from there.
"As a family it was lovely to have the bear come in because it comes with a diary and we'll take photos to put in the diary.
"That goes on to the next family and they'll see the photos and everyone gets to see what happens as the bear moves around.
"It's a really lovely thing because we also follow a Facebook group with other kids with epilepsy as well.
"So it's nice that we can see pictures of what other families are doing and we post as well." Kristine also started a Facebook group for parents who have children with epilepsy.
"It's taken off unbelievably well and we now have about 650 members," she said.
"Parents can chat about what their kids are doing and it means we're not alone any more. "If someone has a child with epilepsy they may want to join this wonderful Facebook group and interact with other parents."
Visit facebook.com/groups/ epilepsyparentsaustralia.
Phone Epilepsy Action Australia on 1300374537 or visit epilepsy.org.au
Find out more about the travelling epilepsy bears by visiting epilepsy.org.au/ ellyandelliotbears
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