Many families struggling with financial issues find it difficult to obtain a surgical evaluation at a hospital far from home. Airfare, ground transportation, and lodging costs can add up when your child needs several days of video EEG monitoring, imaging, and other tests.

This is why Dreams for Danny was created – to help families afford travel and lodging associated with an epilepsy surgery consultation. Funded by a very generous donation from the Abel family in honor of their son, Danny, this new program provides up to $1,000 in approved travel funds for scholarship awardees.

Danny on a walk in March of 2018

 ELIGIBILITY GUIDELINES

  • The application must be submitted by one parent on behalf of both living parents/legal guardians of a child diagnosed with medication resistant epilepsy regardless of whether the parents are married, separated, or divorced. Embedded in the application is a link for the second parent to complete a brief statement that he/she approves of the application. In the event of divorce where one parent has sole legal custody of the child, only the parent with sole legal custody must submit the application. In that case, proof of sole legal custody in the form of a court order must be included with the application.
  • Child must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and currently reside in the United States.
  • Family must desire to travel to a specific level 4 pediatric epilepsy center (U.S. only) at least 50 miles from the child’s place of residence.
  • Child must be under 18 years of age at time of application.
  • Scholarships may only be used to pursue a surgical evaluation at a Level 4 pediatric epilepsy center located in the U.S. as defined by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers. Second and third evaluations are acceptable under the program.
  • Families will be selected from applications submitted the prior calendar month by a peer review panel of parents/legal guardians of children who have had epilepsy surgery. All applications will be de-identified, so that peer review panel members do not know the identity of the applicant.

APPROVED USE OF SCHOLARSHIP FUNDS

  • Any future reasonable travel costs, including gasoline, airfare, car rental, local transportation, parking fees, and lodging expenses incurred while traveling to pursue a surgical evaluation. Receipts must be provided as proof of eligible travel costs incurred prior to the cash award. Only final expenses incurred will be awarded.

EXCLUSIONS

  • Children who have received this scholarship previously
  • Immediate relatives of the Abel family

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How do I apply for a travel scholarship?

Click here for our online application form.

How much money can I request under this program?

You may request up to $1,000. Please ask for only what’s needed. Leftover funds will be used to grant another family an award under this program.

Once I apply, do I automatically get the travel scholarship?

No. Your application will be reviewed by a peer review panel of parents whose children have had epilepsy surgery. The panel decides who receives scholarship funds each month.

May I discuss my application with peer review panel members?

No – doing so will disqualify you from consideration. Peer review members will not know the identity of the applicant or the child. If you contact them separately, they will know your identity and will not be able to vote on your application.

Can scholarship funds be used to reimburse me for travel and lodging expenses I incurred before I applied for the scholarship?

No. Only travel and lodging expenses incurred after you have been notified that you are awarded the scholarship are allowed.

My child has already had epilepsy surgery, but is still having seizures. Are we disqualified from applying?

No. We understand that sometimes families want to visit a new team to discuss their options for a subsequent surgery. You are welcome to apply for this scholarship even though your child has already had epilepsy surgery.

How soon will I be notified regarding the scholarship?

Applications received in a calendar month will be reviewed the first week of the following month. The peer review panel will meet the second week of the month to discuss the applications received in the prior month. Scholarship finalists will be decided approximately the 15th of each month. So, for example, if you apply for this scholarship on May 16th, you will be notified whether you are a grantee or not by June 15th or so.

Can I reapply month after month?

No. Your application is “live” for three months. This means that the peer review panel will consider your application three months in a row. Thereafter, you cannot apply for the scholarship again.

APPLY NOW

ABOUT DANNY

Our epilepsy journey began with infantile spasms when Danny was 10 months old. Uncertainty clouded our family’s future, and we grieved the childhood we thought Danny would have. After a relatively consistent break from seizures the maintenance medicine no longer protected Danny’s brain. Myoclonic seizures were occurring daily, and we started pre-surgical testing.

As seizures continued the once crazy idea of surgery didn’t seem so far-fetched. Tests confirmed Danny was a good surgical candidate, and we pursued a second opinion with a well-known surgery focused neurologist. We were given a real reason to hope again for Danny’s future. We handed over our 3 year old son to the surgery team on May 12, 2016, for a subtotal left hemispherectomy. Danny has been doing well ever since, and it’s been an absolute joy to witness small miracles constantly unfolding.

The Dreams for Danny travel scholarship program was created to help families afford travel and lodging to obtain an epilepsy surgery consultation. This necessary but real financial hurdle stops too many families from finding out if their children have a chance of benefitting from surgery. We want other families to also experience renewed dreams for their children that epilepsy brain surgery can give to them.  – Lauren Marx Abel

The Abel family

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