On behalf of Epilepsy Durham Region thank you for celebrating Epilepsy Awareness Month, and in essence assisting us in eradiating stigma associated with the neurological disease for the 1 in 100 who are affected.
This Epilepsy Awareness Month is especially significant as we are celebrating our 30th anniversary this year! While this is a significant milestone for any agency it is particularly magnificent for us for a few reasons. We were founded by a group of driven parents who just knew in their hearts that help and support needed to be close to home and with no dedicated treatment facility nor specialist in Durham Region things needed to change.
Until very recently families and people living with epilepsy were required to travel to Toronto, London and in some instances to Montreal for help.
As time moved forward, our client base and need for specialized care grew, and Epilepsy Durham Region continued on its mission to ensure that programs and services are maintained to meet the critical needs of so many.
While many expect us to have a cake, balloons and noise makers to celebrate this achievement, in lieu of a party favors we have pledged to announce in December 2017 that we will have a dedicated space in Durham Region whereby families and their children will have access to medical treatment in their community. It bears repeating there is NO dedicated epilepsy treatment in Durham Region.
We are a local grassroots agency which does not receive government nor United Way funding, we are passionate about our mission, to improve the quality of life for those affected by this neurological, life threating disease. On average there is a 10 – 20 year wait for appropriate treatment after diagnosis. In the past three years my colleague and I have secured the help of a local Epileptologist practicing in North York who is willing to treat our clients.
We know that our ambitions are aggressive, but we can’t wait any longer for help. We have immobilized a passionate task force team, one of whom has lost his brother as a result of a seizure. It is as simple as that, but as devastating as that, and is not something you soon forget no matter how long ago it occurred.
With National Epilepsy Awareness month underway, we thank you for talking about epilepsy, learning new facts, and making a direct impact in the quality of life for many in Durham Region.
It’s our 30th anniversary, something our entire community has helped us to build. Let's celebrate!
Happy Epilepsy Awareness Month!
- Dianne McKenzie, Executive Director