‘She wanted to go worldwide’: East Texas organization founded by woman who died from epilepsy to hold first awareness event

Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 11:33 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 17, 2023 at 6:43 PM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month, and Saturday morning will be a big step for an East Texas mom who is working to fulfill her daughter’s wishes.

Micayla Branin was just 21 when she passed away from SUDEP, or a sudden death in epilepsy. The CDC says this happens to approximately 1 in 1000 Americans who are diagnosed with epilepsy.

Micayla and her mother, Susan, founded Embracing Hope with the goal of raising awareness for Epilepsy and bringing those battling the disease together.

“She wanted to spread awareness not just locally, she wanted to go worldwide,” said Susan Branin. “She wanted everyone to know about epilepsy, letting others know that having epilepsy is not just having a seizure.”

Embracing Hope is holding their first annual awareness 5K and community event tomorrow at Bergfeld Park in Tyler. The day will kick off with a 5K at 8:30 a.m., traveling through the Azalea District. The rest of the events, including live entertainment and a petting zoo, will begin at 10 a.m. and go until 5 p.m.

“It just means everything,” said Susan Branin. “I mean, people have reached out to me from other states, and they’re very blessed to be a part of this, and they’re looking forward to connecting into a bigger community.”

Branin also wants to spread awareness of epilepsy first aid, as her daughter battled frequent seizures from the time she was five until her passing. You can see the CDC’s list of seizure first-aid tips here.

Susan Branin, the President of Embracing Hope, discusses Saturday’s first annual Epilepsy Awareness event in Tyler.