Already have an account?
Get back to the
Happy Stories

Kid Heroes: This 3rd Grader Got a Bill Passed to Help His Friend With Epilepsy

"I wanted to help my friend."

Tags:

When third-grader Brennan Yamaguchi witnessed someone having a seizure, he worried about his best friend, who also has epilepsy. “People need to know how to help,” he told his mom, and began a campaign that went all the way to the Hawaii State Capitol!

12 Days of Winning – New Sweepstakes Added Daily!
Celebrate the holiday season with your chance to win cash, gift cards, tech, and more from Woman’s World!
Enter Now!

Brennan’s Quest to Help His Friend

Melissa Yamaguchi was out shopping with her son, Brennan, when a teenage boy suddenly collapsed and lay twitching and jerking. One of his friends quickly dialed 911. “He has epilepsy and is having a seizure,” he told the dispatcher.

“Is that what happens to Kira?” a shaken then-8-year-old Brennan asked his mom.

Kira Yamamoto, who also has epilepsy, was Brennan’s best friend since kindergarten. She’d never had a seizure at school, but as Brennan watched the EMTs, the Honolulu third-grader told his mom, “I have to learn what to do just in case.”

With his mom’s help, Brennan researched seizure disorders. They learned about the three S’s: Turn the person onto their SIDE if they are not awake. Keep the person SAFE and STAY with them until they are awake and alert. They also learned never to restrain someone having a seizure or force a spoon or other object into their mouth in an attempt to protect their tongue. Doing so could cause them injury.

“I didn’t know that,” Melissa said, and Brennan thought, If Mom doesn’t know, I bet lots of other people don’t know either — and I need to tell them!

Brennan began sharing what he’d learned at school and with his baseball team. He hung a “What to do if someone is having a seizure” poster from the Epilepsy Foundation in every classroom and on the playground. “In case Kira ever needs our help,” he explained.

“I’m always so worried about her venturing out alone,” Kira’s mom, Kathy, confided to Melissa. “Thanks to Brennan, I feel much more comfortable.”

Brennan wanted all families to share that sense of confidence about their loved ones with seizure disorders.

So when, in 2020, Hawaii State Senator Glenn Wakai organized a baseball tournament in Japan and Brennan’s team was selected to participate, he took the opportunity to suggest to the Senator that there be a law that all public spaces display a seizure first-aid poster.

The senator agreed this was a worthy cause, and last July, after an impassioned plea by Brennan at the committee hearing, a bill was passed.

Melissa and Brennan with Hawaii State Senator Glenn Wakai, who got the bill passed to mandate public places display a “What to do if someone is having a seizure ” poster

Brennan, now 13, is thrilled.

“I wanted to help my friend,” he says. “It makes me feel good and happy that I am helping others too.”

Send us your stories!

Has a person or animal come to your rescue? Email the story with your name, phone number and a photo to: WWFeatures@WomansWorldMag.com. Or mail to: Everyday Hero, Woman’s World, 270 Sylvan Ave, Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632. By submitting your story, you are granting Woman’s World permission to use it and your photo in the print magazine, on our website and/or in future special issue publications. Due to high volume, we are unable to return submissions received.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

Keep scrolling, there's more!
211416
Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.