SAN ANTONIO - Like most 9-year-old boys, Emiliano Zuniga likes to run and play. Now, his mother can watch him run and jump a little less fearful that he is going to hurt himself after he was diagnosed with epilepsy six months ago.
That's because on this day, Kathleen Kraemer, with the Epilepsy Foundation of Central and South Texas, presented Emiliano with his new Dallas Cowboys-themed protective helmet.
The helmet will protect his head from falls or injuries he might suffer during a seizure.
"It's really hard. We've never seen such a thing. We don't know what to do when that happens," said Emiliano’s mother, Evelyn Avevedo.
Emiliano’s sister, Fatima, said that it's a scary time for their family, but they are happy their youngest family member remains positive about his condition.
And the colorful helmet definitely helps.
"I like it," said Emiliano about his helmet, adding that it fits well too.
"Usually these helmets are very medicinal looking, very bland," Kraemer said.
But not anymore, thanks to a program at the Federal Prison Camp for Women in Bryan, Texas. A group of inmates is transforming the bland helmets into creative, kid-themed head pieces.
"Once we had the idea that we could get them airbrushed into something cool and neat, they felt proud to have it on," Kraemer said.
She added that not only are the inmates learning a skill by artistically airbrushing the helmets for the kids, the program is a chance for them to give back to the community.
"The feeling was immeasurable. There was no way to describe how awesome of a feeling that was that we got to see our finished product and the people who really appreciated it," said Lela Carpenter, one of the inmate artists who airbrushed the helmets.
"They help so much. God bless them,” said Evelyn Acevedo, adding that they help her son live a more normal life as she works with doctors to figure out how to control Emiliano's epilepsy.
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