SALISBURY — Hoping to alleviate funeral costs and spread awareness about an often misunderstood medical condition, a charity event will be held this Sunday in honor of Nevaeh Danaé Bishop.
Diagnosed with Benign Rolandic epilepsy last year, Bishop passed away in January, leaving friends and family stunned and devastated.
“They said it wasn’t anything to worry about,” said Natassia Marie Feather, Bishop’s mother, of the Rolandic epilepsy.
Amber Bedell, a friend of the family and contact for the event, agreed.
“Her death was very tragic and completely unexpected,” she said in an interview last Friday.
Eric Cormier, Feather’s boyfriend, pointed out that the condition even has the word “benign” in the description. According to Cormier, doctors told Feather that her daughter should eventually get over the pubescent Rolandic epilepsy with no long-term effects.
“Normally, by the time they’re 12 or 13 they grow out of it,” he said of the condition.
However, in Bishop’s case, the epilepsy proved to be fatal, leaving her family reeling. Luckily, Feather said that everyone from friends and neighbors to total strangers have come together to lend their support.
“We’ve had a lot of outreach from the community,” she said.
About a dozen of Feather’s friends came together to organize a charity event in honor of Bishop. Set for Sunday, Feb. 26 from 2-6 p.m., the event will be held at Station 7 restaurant in Laurel, Del. It will include a 50/50 raffle, a silent auction, live music and a DJ. There will also be children’s activities like face painting and a clown.
Proceeds from the event will go towards covering Bishop’s funeral costs.
Besides the response from a dedicated group of friends, Cormier said he was most surprised by the involvement from businesses, individuals and media outlets on Delmarva.
“People are willing to go out of their way to donate not only money, but time,” he said.
Cormier noted that print, television, and radio have all been instrumental in spreading the story about Bishop. Great Scott Broadcasting in particular drew praise from Cormier for promoting the event on its numerous radio stations.
“They’ve all been running it non-stop,” he said.
Local businesses have been forthcoming as well, added Cormier, donating a variety of prizes, from musical instruments to tires to gift cards, for the raffle and silent auction. He revealed that the soft goal for the night is about $12,000 in donations and that the hope is to fill all of Station 7’s roughly 800 seats.
“We’d like to pack it to capacity,” he said.
While money generated Sunday will be put toward dealing with the costs of Bishop’s passing and funeral arrangements, Feather said that she hopes to make the event annual with the potential to raise awareness for epilepsy and possibly generate donations to combat the disease in Bishop’s name in the future.
“A doctor for the epilepsy foundation will come to the event,” she said.
“People don’t have an idea of what [Rolandic epilepsy] is,” Feather added.
Information about the condition will be available, including literature and the previously mentioned doctor, on hand to answer any questions. Depending on how Sunday’s event goes, Feather asserted that organizers may try to make it an area tradition, though nothing is set in stone.
According to Bedell, the outpouring of support not just from those close to Feather but from the region at large is a thing she takes pride in.
“This is something we’ve all done together,” she said.
Feather agreed that she was “very fortunate in that aspect,” while Cormier revealed that, at such a dark time, the sincerity and concern of the community has helped confirm his faith in humanity.
For more information or to donate to the event, contact Bedell at email@example.com or 410-422-9162