by Lexi Bissonnette
Epilepsy is a medical condition that has affected many lives. Eric Miller, founder of Candlelight Concert Series that benefits the Epilepsy Foundation of New Jersey, has experienced the tragedy first hand. His wife, Carolina, passed away from epilepsy in 2011 and the concert series was born in her honor.
The Candlelight Concert Series in Ewing, NJ brings together musicians in fundraisers to raise epilepsy awareness. It began in Pennington, NJ and is currently at a 300 seat church in Trinity UMC in Ewing. “I wanted to do something that would not only honor Carolina but really elevate awareness about epilepsy and in particular, the risks,” says Miller. He had no idea himself how fatal it could be and learned that about 50,000 a year pass away from seizure-related causes.
What began as a memorial and a way for Miller to channel his energy after his loss grew into so much more. “Almost daily I get messages from people who have lost loved ones,” he says. Now the event is a place to learn and raise funds to help others.
“For me, it’s always personally about honoring Carolina,” he says. “In a broader sense, working in the hopes that someone, someday does not experience a similar loss.”
The Candlelight Concerts feature some wonderful artists. This year the series includes Ed Kowalczyk formerly of Live on 3/27, Joan Osborne on 4/11 and Paula Cole on 4/27. The nights include more than just good music. Someone will speak on epilepsy for a short time and the Epilepsy Foundation is always there as well.
“I am excited to perform at the Epilepsy Benefit Series on Thursday, March 27th in Ewing, NJ. Any time I’m given the opportunity to weave a charitable effort into what I do creatively like this, I consider it a gift. I am grateful to be a part of the Candlelight Concert Series for Epilepsy Awareness and look forward to an amazing night,” says Kowalczyk.
It is a night about awareness and donations but Miller knows it is as much about the music as well. “I make sure the epilepsy aspect is not off-putting. But if we can teach just a few people or help someone living with epilepsy feel less lonely, then we’ve truly made progress and possibly saved some lives.”