Basketball camp motivates kids with autism, epilepsy

Published: Jul. 16, 2015 at 7:14 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 6, 2015 at 9:30 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Bounce Out The Stigma is a free, two-day basketball camp that is specifically tailored for kids ages 8 to 20 with epilepsy/seizure disorders and autism spectrum disorders. Camp participants are welcome to bring a sibling or friend, also between the ages of 8 and 20, with them to join in the fun. Camp goers will receive a Bounce Out The Stigma t-shirt and basketball, and be empowered by Harlem Wizard "Mighty Mike" Simmel, a person who knows the epilepsy battle first-hand. Mike is not only the founder of Bounce Out The Stigma, he is also a sports entertainer, motivational speaker, and basketball instructor.

Two-days of skills, drills, thrills and fun, designed to give kids with special needs the fun of camp with a great basketball role model and mentor, will be offered in Louisville on July 30 and 31 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m at St. Paul United Methodist Church, 2000 Douglas Blvd.

The camp will also be held in Lexington at Immanuel Baptist Church, 3100 Tates Creek Road, on July 28 and July 29 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"Mighty Mike" Simmel has been a member of the Harlem Wizards professional basketball team and a featured show performer at halftimes since 2001. Mike uses his gifts and work ethic to overcome his limitations and made his dreams in basketball come true. His background, struggles, and captivating skills are something that others can be encouraged by and learn from. 
Each year, "Mighty Mike" is involved in a special national program titled "Kids Speak Up" through the Epilepsy Foundation in Washington, DC. He entertains and encourages youth attending this program with his amazing skills. This is where Deb McGrath, executive director of the Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana, got to know Mike. Deb made it a goal to bring Mike to Kentucky to share his awesome talents and determined spirit with youth affected by epilepsy and autism. Because Mike knows first-hand the devastating effects and overwhelming consequences epilepsy can have on the individual and their family, he is extremely grateful to be able to pay it forward by helping others with special needs believe in themselves and not let their limits define them.  
Bounce Out The Stigma is being made available through the generous support of Kosair Charities, KentuckyOne Health, Norton Neuroscience Institute, UK HealthCare Kentucky Neuroscience Institute, UofL Neurology and Neurosurgery, Immanuel Baptist Church, and St. Paul United Methodist Church.
To register or for more information, go to, or call Deb McGrath at 866-275-1078 x13. Space is limited.

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