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Epilepsy Awareness Month kicks off with Pancake Tuesday

Story and photos by Hillary Di Menna

Chris Anton waved his hand around shocked by Ken Whetham's pancake eating ability

Purple pancake eaters of Durham Region gathered at Diamond Grill on Feb. 21. The community kick-off for Epilepsy Awareness Month began on Pancake Tuesday with a blueberry pancake-eating contest amongst Oshawa Firefighters.

Tables were pushed together for the firefighter contestants to take their seats in purple balloon decorated chairs. With a trophy placed in the middle of the table, these volunteers wet their lips in nervous anticipation for their plate of stacked pancakes.

The prize would go to who finished their meal the fastest. In three minutes forty-one seconds, the honour went to Ken Whetham, who was also the winner in 2009.

Dianne McKenzie presented Ken Whetham with an award

The purpose was not to make our local firemen ill, but to help raise funds for Epilepsy Durham.

“So people who have Epilepsy know they have support in their community,” said organization director Dianne McKenzie.

A purple décor merchandise table welcomed patrons to the 10 Bond St. W. restaurant. Along with the pancakes, purple stuffed bunnies were for sale (all proceeds going back into Durham Epilepsy).

McKenzie approached Diamond Grill owner, Jay Jegatheeswaran four years ago to host this event and it has been an annual fundraiser since.

“I feel great, my staff feels great,” said Jegatheeswaran of the event.

Dianne McKenzie presented Diamond Grill owner, Jay Jegatheeswaran with an appreciation certificate

“Each year I want it [Epilepsy Awareness Month] to be bigger and better. I want downtown to be purple. Councillors, dressed in purple.”

Oshawa city councillors Doug Sanders, Bob Chapman and Nancy Diamond came to cheer for the contest participants and show their support.

Chapman became a fan of first-time contest participant Nathan Langille. Langille’s strategy was to distract his opponents while he finished his pancake breakfast. Chapman’s cheers and Langille’s distractions were not enough to beat Whetham, who in addition to his name on the annual trophy was sent home with pancake mix, and syrup.

“I’m going to run on the treadmill,” Whetham said. “Go home and walk my dog.”

The victory wasn’t entirely syrupy sweet. Opponent Chris Anton, amazed with Whetham could not resist but yell, “What is physically wrong with you?” after he slowly but surely finished his own plate clean.

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