As Mark and Holly Brady looked at the hundreds of cars lined up up near the Grain Valley Community Center last Sunday, they smiled, as memories of their late daughter Amanda washed over them like a tidal wave.
Amanda, who developed epilepsy as an infant, died after a severe seizure when she was just 13.
“We were devastated,” said Holly, who along with Mark formed the Purple Peace Foundation for Epilepsy Awareness in Amanda’s memory. “Amanda lived her life with purpose and was always smiling.
“And we wanted to do something to help others who are dealing with epilepsy, because so many people simply don’t know that your child can die from the disease.”
Mark, nodding in agreement, was quick to add, “Amanda died when she was just 13 years old, and we want to keep her name alive. Now, through the Purple Peace Foundation, we can help so many other parents who are struggling with this issue, while making sure Amanda’s memory lives on.”
The Bradys and the Purple Peace Foundation for Epilepsy Awareness served as hosts for the fifth annual Cruise for Consciousness car show and rally at the Community Center, attracting 260 cars and thousands of onlookers.
It’s a far cry from the first show that attracted 60 cars and a few interested onlookers.
“It’s been amazing how it has grown each year,” Holly said. “We went over 200 last year, with about 225, and this year we’re just over 260.”
One participant was Blue Springs resident Gary Simmons, who brought his 1957 Dodge Coronet and his grandson Aiden to the event.
“I heard about it last year and went as a fan and just loved it,” Simmons said. “This year, I wanted to participate. There are so many of these car shows, and I love to participate in ones that really make an impact, and this one certainly falls in that category.”
This year’s car show raised $12,175, all of which will go to epilepsy awareness, once the show’s expenses are covered. Holly stresses that the money raised from the car show goes to raise awareness and help area families with are dealing with the disease.
One of those families attended the event and wanted to thank everyone who has made an impact in their lives.
Because she suffers from seizures, 16-year-old Dakota Holler participates in an on-line home-schooling program.
She was one of the recipients of funds from last year’s car show – and donations the Brady family received following the death of Holly’s mother, Jacqueline Craig, who asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Purple Peace Foundation. That allowed the Hollers and three other families the opportunity to attend Disneyland’s annual Epilepsy Awareness and Education Expo.
“The Disneyland Expo is free,” said Stacey Perry, the Purple Pride Foundation community outreach coordinator, “but it isn’t free to get to California from Blue Springs, and we were so thrilled to be able to help the Hollers and three other families.”
Dakota was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was 2.
“Having a foundation like the Purple Peace Foundation and being blessed to be able to attend the expo in Disneyland helped us feel like we weren’t alone,” Dakota’s mother Meg said. “We had no idea that so many people were affected by epilepsy.
“There are times, you just feel so all alone, and now, we feel like there is hope that we never knew about and so much of that hope comes from being around all the people you see today (at the car show) – people like Mark and Holly and everyone else who has had to deal with epilepsy.”
For more information go to www.PurplePeaceFoundation.org.