Mission’s Christine Jamieson wants to share her story and inspire others. She is competing in this year’s Miss BC competition. / Kevin Mills Photos

VIDEO: Mission woman wants to share her story, inspire others

Miss BC contestant doesn’t allow epilepsy to stop her from succeeding in life

Mission’s Christine Jamieson runs her own marketing company, works full-time for a construction company, founded a not-for-profit organization, helped create the High Five program at Simon Fraser University and volunteers for the Center for Epilepsy and Seizure Education in BC.

She’s also a contestant in the Miss BC Competition.

The irony is, she isn’t that concerned about winning.

I’m going into it without any expectations except to learn and to grow,” she said.

In fact, the competition is really just a great opportunity for Jamieson to “share her story.”

“The most important message I want to send is that you can do whatever you want.”

It’s been a long journey to this point for Jamieson.

When she was 16, she was diagnosed with epilepsy.

“I’ve apparently had it my entire life. I was walking home one day and it hit me like a brick wall. I didn’t know what was happening. It was a full seizure. Pain all up and down and I don’t remember a thing,” she said.

After the incident, it took a long time to get a proper diagnosis.

“They told me I was just being a moody teenager and there was nothing wrong with me.”

But after going through a series of treatments, she was properly diagnosed and given medication to help control her condition.

Despite the medicine, she still experiences some form of seizure about once a week.

“They are not grand mal seizures they just, for a second, you turn into a zombie.”

It was a difficult time for Jamieson who began to suffer from depression. She didn’t have any hope and thought she could never be successful in her life.

“The biggest thing for me is when I was going through everything, I didn’t know anyone who had gone through a chronic illness. It’s something you are going to have to deal with the rest of your life. People don’t talk about it.”

When she finished high school, Jamieson decided to take part in the Miss BC competition in 2011.

“I didn’t really have a voice and didn’t know what I wanted to say. I was lost.”

But as she talked to the other women involved in the event, they helped her find her voice.

“It was right after that that I founded my not-for-profit organization, FOMI (Faces of Mental Illness).”

Then she began to visit different schools and universities, talking about mental health and sharing her story.

“We need to focus on having a healthy body and a healthy mind.”

She attended Simon Fraser University and helped to create a program called High Five to help shorten the wait time for therapists at SFU.

After graduating from SFU, with a double bachelor’s degree in English and Communications and a minor in Political Science, Jamieson continued to evolve.

She volunteers with epilepsy centre and has a goal to put on two different fundraisers in the next year. She wants to raise at least $15,000 for epilepsy awareness education.

She is also trying to grow her own marketing company, Push 25 Creative Solutions.

And she wants to continue to raise awareness about mental health and epilepsy.

“My goal is to inspire young adults to following their dreams and giving hope to those who need it.”

Recently, Jamieson welcomed a new resident into her Mission home, Eva her service dog.

Only nine months old, the chihuahua plays an important role in Jamieson’s life, although many people don’t believe it.

“Nobody would guess it was a service dog because she is so tiny and so small, but she knows how to call 911 for me.”

Eva is trained to alert Jamieson if she is going to have a seizure and will stay with her.

The house phone is set up that the dog can hit one button and it will call 911 and immediately goes to speaker phone. Eva then begins to bark, alerting the operator.

“People really misunderstand service dogs. Everyone wants to talk to her, they want to pet her. Others say your just putting a vest on her because it’s cute and want to take her with you. Nope, I have too.”

Jamieson is comfortable talking about her epilepsy and her efforts to promote mental health awareness.

She said her favourite motto is “Do not be ashamed of your story as it will inspire others.”

“I strongly believe every person follows a unique journey and tells a unique story, each of which we can learn from. I am thrilled to be involved in Miss BC as it focuses on inner beauty and is inclusive of all women.

The Miss, Miss Teen, Jr. Miss, and Mrs BC Pageant runs June 30 to July 2 in Fort Langley. The pageant finale is on Monday, July 2 at 6:30 p.m at Chief Sepass Theatre.

Each contestant will be evaluated in the following categories:

Personal expression in sports wear of their choosing;

Personal expression in an evening gown of their choosing;

Private interview with the judging panel;

Public on-stage interview in the final showcase.

For more visit missbc.ca.

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