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At WITHit, we’re always looking to collaborate with vibrant, passionate people who share our values and strive to make a difference in the world. Brand Ambassador Stephanie Moschella exemplifies our ethos to a T as a mother of three, personal trainer and advocate for Pediatric Epilepsy. Ever since Stephanie’s youngest son Beckett was diagnosed with the condition at age two, she’s been a woman on a mission—ultimately co-founding PEARS (Pediatric Epilepsy Awareness Research Support).
Guided by Stephanie and her business partner Julie, PEARS aims to bring awareness and research funds to Pediatric Epilepsy. Beyond year-round fundraising, the organization hosts an annual Croquet for a Cure tournament and funnels the proceeds directly to Massachusetts General Hospital. In the past five years alone, PEARS has contributed over $100,000 earmarked for Pediatric Epilepsy.
“Despite how common it is, it’s not a well understood condition, which is why every research dollar makes a difference,” explains Stephanie. “Some kids respond well to specific diets, some see improvement with medication—and some struggle to find progress even with the best care. But research is making a difference. Kids are getting better.”
Beyond PEARS’ financial contributions, the organization has brought awareness to Pediatric Epilepsy through their Facebook community and an official Pediatric Epilepsy Awareness Red Sox baseball game, where supporters wear their hallmark purple shirts to show their support.
The financial support from PEARS has helped Mass General with programs that range from groundbreaking Pediatric Epilepsy research to a quality-of-life program that pairs adolescent epilepsy patients with rescue dogs. “The funds are used across the board, building community with teen social groups, creative play experiences for the youngest patients and even picnics and summer camps,” says Stephanie. “Research, community and outreach all have their piece in the puzzle.”
Studies estimate that 450,000 Americans under the age of 18 have epilepsy, diagnosed after observing recurring seizures. While two-thirds eventually outgrow their seizures by the time they’re teenagers, the challenges epilepsy presents to patients and families can be heartbreaking and frustrating.
“It’s not uncommon for a treatment to appear to be working and then suddenly stop working,” says Stephanie. “And what works for one patient may not work for another. There aren’t easy answers, but it’s thrilling to know that we’re making a difference—that our contributions go directly to research and improving families’ lives. PEARS has helped fund studies and was even able to buy a van for a family in need. It’s amazing to witness what passion and generosity can accomplish.”