6 Year-Old Epilepsy Spokesperson Wins McKinley Beach Disneyland Giveaway

The magical kingdom is about to get a little more magical for one family in Kelowna, as the Jones family wins a vacation to Disneyland California, thanks to local development community.

KELOWNA, BC – Monday, May 9th, 2016 – “Happily Ever-Afters” don’t just happen at Disneyland. A more magical story could not have transpired for a local family who recently moved to Kelowna in order to provide a reduced stress environment for their daughter who suffers from epilepsy and who are the winners of McKinley Beach’s “It’s Not an April Fool’s” Disneyland Giveaway. Shannon Jones and her family won a trip to Disneyland in Anaheim, California; a vacation that the family had just told their 3 kids they would be unable to take due to the cost of relocating from Winnipeg, MB to Kelowna, BC earlier this year.

McKinley Beach pulled off a successful “April Fool’s” joke in 2015 teasing Okanagan residents with a nonsensical story that Disneyland had chosen Kelowna to develop a mini-theme park at their new community. The made-up story went viral on social media and spurred calls from individuals as well as radio and TV stations from across Canada. McKinley Beach soon learned the affinity that Okanagan residents had for the “mouse” and decided it would be great to actually make a family’s dream come true by sending them to Disneyland in 2016.

The random draw was made from thousands of entries on April 22nd and Shannon Jones and her family were named the lucky winners.

The Jones’ own amazing story reads part inspiration and part fairy-tale. Shannon, her husband, Miles, and three daughters, London (9), Hartley (6), and Parker (2) relocated from Winnipeg to the Okanagan 4 months ago after Miles was offered the opportunity by his employer to move to BC for work purposes. At 9 months old, Shannon and Mile’s daughter, Hartley, began experiencing seizures. Her condition was misdiagnosed until she turned 4 when it was discovered she was suffering from epilepsy.

The doctors in Manitoba were excellent, and Hartley was even an ambassador and spokesperson for the Children’s Hospital Foundation. Despite their best efforts, there are simply more options for treatment available in BC. And while epilepsy is not an uncommon condition, the development of advanced treatments in North America are extremely underfunded. Notwithstanding the fact there are more than twice as many people with epilepsy as the number of people with cerebral palsy, autism, muscular dystrophy, MS, and cystic fibrosis, combined, there just aren’t enough studies or funding to work towards a cure at this time.

The Jones’, wanting the best treatment possible for Hartley and looking forward to new opportunities, made the decision to move their family from their home province of Manitoba to BC. There were many factors that made BC appealing; Kelowna in particular. The family had vacationed here before and loved the ‘little city’ feel. BC is also more advanced and innovative when it comes to medical treatments so it was the perfect place for Hartley in order to better help manage and treat her condition.

The other reason for the move was the location itself. The new McKinley Beach community is striving to bring the best of the Okanagan to their new lakefront community, the appeal of which wasn’t lost on the Jones family.

“As for our personal experience, we have found that physical environment can play a huge role in the severity of (epilepsy) symptoms,” said Shannon Jones on their reason for moving to the Okanagan.

“Our move to Kelowna was a deliberate attempt to impact our daughter’s life for the better. The beautiful climate, smaller city (without having to give up any amenities), top-notch medical care, and laid-back pace have all contributed to a huge decrease in stress in our everyday lives. We’ve only been here for four months, and already the change in Hartley’s symptoms is dramatic, and the benefits have extended to all 5 of us. We can’t say enough good things about the Kelowna lifestyle!”

Since moving to Kelowna, a combination of the environment, lifestyle, and a new treatment schedule, has made all the difference for Hartley and her family and they’re looking forward to their family vacation to California.

“The kids were so surprised,” said Shannon, “they didn’t believe it.” Now that Hartley’s symptoms are more manageable, the Jones family will be heading to Disneyland in the Fall to enjoy the true Mickey Mouse experience.


About McKinley Beach:

McKinley Beach is Kelowna’s newest lakefront community featuring a kilometre of beachfront, stunning views, and the very best of the Okanagan at your doorstep.

McKinley Beach Contact Info:

McKinley Beach Discovery Centre: 1508 Water Street, Kelowna BC

Ph#: 250.980.5555