Epilepsy Foundation Chicago: educating to understand the illness

Having epilepsy seizures is not a joke at all. Many people have to live with this condition and they suffer in silence since it has been a taboo and not many people know and understand this illness.

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Image courtesy of Ben Turner at Flickr.com

As kids, we joke around about having epilepsy seizures and it is funny to watch the imitation. But in real life patients with epilepsy are suffering a lot and their families are taken down with them in this spiral of depression and anxiety. So, what to do? How can people know more about this illness and how to control it, live with it or at least understand it?

That is exactly what the Epilepsy Foundation of Chicago is doing. They are giving the community, patients and families a space where they can get informed, understand the illness, talk to people, get support and try to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and where patients and families can look for help in order to  accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives.

The Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago is a charity foundation located in Illinois, exactly at 17 N. State Street Suite 650 Chicago, IL 60602. This non-for-profit organization helps more than 40 counties within the Illinois state and they offer counselling services, advice, advocacy and many more educational services to people that suffer from epilepsy, to their relatives and caretakers and the communities around the patients or that are affected by this condition. The foundation consists of many volunteers from very diverse backgrounds that come to the charity to help and give a hand to those that suffer from this illness; and of many professionals and certified doctors in areas such as pediatrics, neurology, pharmacology, social work and approach, psychology and nurse education.

The Epilepsy Foundation Chicago also has what they call the Community Action Boards that are groups who are spread all over the Chicagoland and are dedicated to socializing and expanding the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago’s mission within all the 43 counties they serve within the region. Community Action Boards are the first type of contact that many communities have when they have a problem or an issue that is not easily solved. These Community Action Boards are the ones that get the community together around events such as planning program opportunities, planning event initiatives, or discovering new fundraising opportunities. The Community Action Boards are the ones that build long lasting relationships with the communities and are the ones responsible for gaining the community´s trust in order to reach them in an easier way. They are also responsible for developing and enhancing community connections, raising awareness of epilepsy and all the help that Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago is giving to people related to epilepsy, finding and improving participation in programs and services, and identifying new partners that can be part of fundraisers or that can help with the foundation.

The Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago has been helping people with epilepsy since 1946 with their social activities and programs. One of their most important activities or approaches is the education approach. Here they have teams that go to schools and public places to raise awareness on the epilepsy topic and they use classroom lectures and events to communicate their work and their opportunities for the community and how to manage and handle epilepsy and seizures. They have different approaches:

  • Community Outreach: these Epilepsy Education programs are aimed at specific communities and provide the much-needed information on seizure recognition and first aid. This program also covers information on the stigma and misconceptions that people have when it comes to epilepsy. They have a similar program called “Seizure Smart Schools Education Initiative “ which consists of the same thing as the Community Outreach program but it is aimed at  students and teaching staff at schools.

  • Awareness Materials: the foundation uses advertisement materials to promote their work and foundation. They use what they call” Someone Special Books”.  By using the book they want to spread the message of dealing with epilepsy in a healthy way. In the books, acceptance and kindness is taught using pictures and drawings that inspire people to lead a healthy life and to accept others as they are. The books are aimed at children that suffer the disease and it focuses first on the child’s likes and dislikes and his or her hobbies; then, the second part of the book focuses more on the illness and its causes and symptoms and how it is easy to deal with it and how to live a normal life with this condition.
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Image courtesy of pixabay.com at Pexels.com

Maybe not many of us have epileptic seizures, but we have seen people having them. When it does happen, it brings a lot of sadness and anxiety to the sufferer and the relatives around the patient. This charity is giving the correct information to know how to deal with this condition.

Be sure to also read this post on a charity that helps good students continue their academic path

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