Shining Stars

Shining Star Logo

All children are special, but we believe that children with epilepsy are Shining Stars! 

This program connects youth and teens with epilepsy from across Minnesota and eastern North Dakota, and encourages them to reach for the stars. All youth ages 17 and under are invited to become a Shining Star and join us with their family for special events throughout the year.

A large group of children with epilepsy and their families, in front of a screen showing the Shining Stars logo.
Photo of two people sitting in stadium seats looking at the camera and smiling.

The Shining Stars program seeks to address the feelings of isolation and difference that can often accompany an epilepsy diagnosis, especially at a young age. We help children connect with others who are facing similar challenges and seek to empower them to embrace their differences and continually strive to meet their fullest potential.

We recognize that epilepsy affects the entire family. In addition to opportunities for children with epilepsy, the Shining Stars program offers parents a chance to connect with each other. We also publish a quarterly e-newsletter with information and resources specific to parents of children with epilepsy.

All new Shining Stars will receive:

  • Shining Star Medallion
  • Program Certificate
  • Special Event Invitations
Thriving with Epilepsy

Meet Abby Ackerman

From being diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder at the age of seven to becoming the 2017/2018 Winning Kid, Abby Ackerman is an example of what it means to be a Shining Star. Abby has been a member of the Shining Stars program for years and has transformed into a role model for other youth with epilepsy.

Abby's Story
Three photos show the same young girl with a house, doing a painting, and giving a speech.

Shining Star Toolkit

Help your child be a Shining Star in their community! The Epilepsy Foundation’s free Shining Stars Toolkit gives suggestions about how to raise awareness and education of epilepsy in the classroom and community. After they receive their kit, let us know how they educated others so we can recognize their hard work and send a special thank you gift!

Ways to create awareness in your local community include:

  • Create a PowerPoint presentation about your journey and share it with your class
  • Write an article about epilepsy and submit it to your local or school newspaper
  • Organize a local awareness event or fundraiser
  • Educate your friends, teachers, and neighbors using EFMN’s brochures & resources
  • Participate in the annual Rise Above Seizures Walk
  • Organize a clothing drive at your school or in your community (pick-ups available in our service area)
  • “Speak Up” and share your story in November (National Epilepsy Awareness Month)
  • Request a FREE seizure training; staff from EFMN can educate your teachers and fellow students
  • Request a classroom kit filled with information & activities for your classroom
A group of kids in brightly colored tshirts stand together hold up their index fingers to indicate "one."
An older child shows a craft to a group of younger children.
A group of kids and adults poses at the Mall of America amusement park.
A woman poses with her arm around a child, both smiling.

View Upcoming Events

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Connect Group (Burnsville)

Support and resources for individuals, families and friends affected by epilepsy. Light refreshments are served. Contact Tammy Sammon with any questions at or 651-287-2304.



Thursdays on First & 3rd

We will be hosting the evening musical guests at Thursdays on First & 3rd. Stop by and visit our booth to meet your Regional Coordinator, Emily Gomez, and get epilepsy resources and information about upcoming events. (Volunteers for this event are welcome; if interested, contact Emily Gomez at or



Rise Above Seizures Walk – Duluth

The Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota (EFMN)’s annual Rise Above Seizures Walk is the single largest fundraising and awareness event in Minnesota and North Dakota to benefit people with seizures. The walk began in 1999 in Rochester, MN and since then has expanded to four additional cities; Minneapolis/St. Paul, Duluth, St. Cloud, and

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Camps for youth with epilepsy

EFMN offers summer camp programs for youth of all abilities, with the security of trained medical staff.

Camp Programs