Meet the Epilepsy Awareness South Africa team

The Epilepsy Awareness SA team gathers to raise awareness. Photo: Antonella Raggazoni


Epilepsy Awareness SA is a non-profit organisation based in Johannesburg and is made up of volunteers who dedicate their time to educate their communities as well as the rest of South Africa.

Epilepsy Awareness SA was founded in 2015 by Linda Dias Menezes and Maximillian van Heerden, both of whom are International Purple Day ambassadors representing South Africa for The Anita Kaufmann Foundation in America.

Max has been raising Awareness for Epilepsy since he was nine years old. He is passionate about educating his community about epilepsy and volunteers at organisations including Reea Foundation and Bathabeleng Children’s Home.

Dias Menezes had been raising epilepsy awareness for two years prior to beginning Epilepsy Awareness SA. She was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 12 and has a strong drive to educate everyone she meets about epilepsy and first aid treatment during epileptic seizures.

The team has further expanded to include Tania van Heerden, Michelle Read, Thembeka Ntuli, Muhammed Cassim and Daniella Alexander.

Tania, Max’s mother, was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of seven and got involved in Epilepsy Awareness SA to support Max. “My work with Easa is very rewarding and I take great pride in educating the community, especially with road shows and organising our annual Purple Day Walk. My Easa team is my family,” she said.

Cassim was born with mild cerebral palsy and diagnosed with epilepsy when he was six years old. He has recently been elected as the vice-chair of the Psychological Society of South Africa in the student division.

Ntuli, a first-year student currently studying marketing management, was diagnosed with epilepsy five years ago. Ntuli is passionate about making a difference and helping those living with epilepsy.

Alexander is a social entrepreneur striving to create sustainable programmes for organisations and individuals.

Read has always wanted to serve the community which is what prompted her to study law. However, her involvement with charities has grown each year, with her main focus being children and women.

Vernon Whitmore, a volunteer for Epilepsy Awareness SA, said his interest and involvement in the work being done by the organisation began when he met the Van Heerden’s through the 1st German Scout group.

In the future, Epilepsy Awareness South Africa hopes to be able to help people with disabilities apply for grants, pay for medication for those who cannot afford it and open a children’s home for children with epilepsy.

Details: [email protected] or visit the website

Tell us how you have been impacted by epilepsy on WhatsApp 079 439 5345

Laura Pisanello

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