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Emma Silver says winning the Name the Brain contest has been ‘empowering’

September 20, 2023 3 min read

The winner of the Epilepsy Shop’s contest to name the cartoon brain mascot on the new Good Vibes line of T-shirts and hoodies says the experience of penning the winning entry – and being involved in the design process – has been “empowering.”

Emma Silver received first-place honours in the Name the Brain contest for her entry. The Good Vibes mascot, a pink brain with eyes, a nose, a mouth and arms, is officially named “Cortex”, thanks to her submission.

In addition to coining the name, Emma was asked to be involved in the design process for Good Vibes merchandise, which she says was a bonus thrill.

“It was a great feeling of empowerment,” Emma says of winning the contest. “It was a great feeling because I came up with this name. The character had already been designed, but I got to have some input about what the character was doing (on the shirts), what the shirts would look like and what we were doing with the character.”

Emma, who is living with epilepsy, learned about the contest through the support group she’s involved with. Having studied animation and art, Emma naturally had an interest in the contest and decided to submit “Cortex” – a reference to the outermost portion of the brain – as her entry.

She describes how she came up with the idea.

“I was thinking about the different cartoon characters that I liked when I was little that had brain-centred names,” Emma says.

“I thought Cortex is something that isn’t taken and it sounds kind of fun, and it’s a part of the brain that isn’t taken as a character name. It just sounded like a name that would fit the character.”

Created by Epilepsy Ontario in 2020, the Epilepsy Shop sells an array of colourful T-shirts and hoodies embossed with campaign names to help support local epilepsy agencies and to raise awareness of seizure disorders.

Epilepsy Ontario social media co-ordinator Trevor Gordon hatched the idea for the Name the Brain contest. He says he came up with the idea as a way to engage Epilepsy Shop customers and those involved with the epilepsy community in the creation of a product line.

Trevor says more than 2,000 people responded to the e-mail and social media campaigns that followed. A panel of judges selected the top three responses. Those responses were then judged by the public through online voting and Emma’s submission placed first.

Since Emma’s idea to name the mascot was chosen, she received the first shirt off the line. But Trevor wanted to involve her even more.

“I wanted her to be a part of the process of designing the shirts,” he says. “I wanted her to feel a sense of empowerment, so I brought her in for a meeting with our graphic designer (Shaun Curtis) and Epilepsy Ontario’s CEO, Paul Raymond, and she got to be a part of the process.”

As a person living with epilepsy, Emma says she hopes she can serve as an inspiration to others. While she admits she was “surprised” when her idea was chosen out of so many entries, Emma says people can accomplish anything when they put their mind to it.

“For anyone out there struggling with epilepsy – the ‘epilepsy warriors’ – we can do anything,” she says.