Parents of children with epilepsy, autism unite to do 'all that truly matters'
Penny Meskan and Brandi McGuire came together as two concerned parents determined to do all they could for their children.
Since then, they've grown inseparable in their commitment to grow the RibbonsforKellsey Care nonprofit that McGuire founded six years ago to help children suffering from epilepsy.
“I first met Brandi when our children were in grade school together,” Meskan told the Rock Island Today. “We were just acquaintances at first, but after her daughter was diagnosed with epilepsy and later my daughter, Charlotte, was diagnosed with autism, we came together to do all we can to help as many Ribbonsforkellsey children as we can who suffer from those same conditions.”
Starting out as a chapter solely dedicated to aiding children with epilepsy and named in honor of McGuire’s daughter Kellsey, the organization's efforts have included providing hundreds of weighted blankets and anti-suffocation pillows to needy children. More recently, it added an autism chapter, prompting Meskan to formally join its ranks as a committee member.
Meskan’s family is now donating proceeds from a family-owned sweet corn patch to RibbonsforKellsey for more blankets and needed items.
“What gives parents peace of mind is knowing that their children are OK,” she said. “Parents feel safe when their children feel safe, and that’s the feeling we’re trying to provide for everyone.”
Meskan added that she’s aware that many children who suffer from autism also suffer from epilepsy, noting that her daughter is still undergoing tests.
“We do everything we can to raise funds for the cause and organization,” she said. “And we’re not alone. So many other parents are involved and trying to help us in every way they can.”
In late August, the organization was slated to host a Quarter Auction at the Milan American Legion, with most of the proceeds going to the organization.
"We’re committed to helping as many kids as we can," RibbonsforKellsey Director Sarah Perez said. "That’s all that truly matters.”