Author: Joanna Swanson, Head of Direct Sales, First National Bank of Omaha
The month of November is designated as National Epilepsy Awareness Month, which poses an opportunity to educate the public about epilepsy and shed an important light on the epilepsy community. To learn more about how local organizations are getting involved in the cause, we spoke with Donna Dodson, Executive Director of the Epilepsy Foundation of Alabama.
What is the Epilepsy Foundation of Alabama and what is its mission?
The Epilepsy Foundation of Alabama is an affiliate of the National Epilepsy Foundation. The National Foundation works with the CDC and the National Institute of Health to provide quality educational programs and literature about epilepsy. Our mission is to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives.
How does your organization raise support and awareness in your community?
The Epilepsy Foundation of Alabama offers training programs and educational discussions to dispel myths and raise awareness about epilepsy. We sponsor fun runs, walks, art therapy and our annual Camp Evoked Potential for children with epilepsy. We talk to school faculty, police, first responders, day care workers, and senior caretakers about epilepsy awareness and first aid. We have literature about epilepsy awareness in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Filipino that is distributed among clinics throughout Alabama.
What is the importance of National Epilepsy Awareness Month? How can people further lend their support to this important cause?
There are 56,000 Alabamians with some form of epilepsy. Epilepsy can affect anyone at any time in his or her life. One-third of those with epilepsy cannot control their seizures with medication or surgery. We are here to help provide resources, education, support groups and other client services needed to overcome daily barriers to self-sufficiency. Anyone can help by providing financial support.
What has been the impact of the Enable Savings Plan Alabama on members in your community?
The Enable Savings Plan Alabama allows families and friends to put funds into an account for the expenses their loved one with epilepsy faces. Costs for housing, transportation, medications not covered are just a few of the necessities required to help those with disabilities to have a quality of life. This plan helps families of those with seizures feel secure knowing they will provide for the future of their family members when they are no longer here.
We thank Donna for sharing her insights with us. To share what National Epilepsy Awareness Month means to you or to learn more about the Enable Savings Plan Alabama, visit our Facebook page.