Saturday, November 30, 2013

Epilepsy Awareness Month: Advocating for Awareness and Answers - Interview with The Epilepsy Network (TEN)

November has just flown by! Today is the last day of Epilepsy Awareness Month and the interview today is with Tiffany Kairos of The Epilepsy Network (TEN).  One of Tiffany’s goals is to get the NFL to support Epilepsy Awareness.  Having grown up in Omaha, I am a huge football fan (Go Huskers!) but I recognize football carries with it the risk of a concussion – or several.   With the coach of a major college football program not keeping his battle with epilepsy and uncontrolled seizures a secret (thank you, Coach Jerry Kill of the University of Minnesota Gophers), awareness of epilepsy in the football community is growing.

(The only problem I have with Coach Kill is his team beat my beloved Huskers this year! Ouch!)

Let’s hope between Coach Kill and the work Tiffany is doing, the NFL (and the NCAA while we’re at it) will officially support Epilepsy Awareness Month one November.

In the meantime, please welcome Tiffany!

Tiffany Kairos, Founder
The Epilepsy Network

Robert’s Sister:    Tell us the name, mission and goals of your organization. 

The name of my organization is The Epilepsy Network (TEN). The mission of The Epilepsy Network (TEN) is to reach out all across the world to educate, advocate and break down the stigmas surrounding Epilepsy. In addition, our mission and goal is to UNITE those with epilepsy worldwide, uplift one another and stand strong to find a cure!

Robert’s Sister:  When was your organization founded and what was the catalyst for forming the organization? 

The Epilepsy Network (TEN) was founded in 2010. The Catalyst for creating The Epilepsy Network (TEN) came from my own journey as an Epilepsy diagnosee. In the beginning of my journey, I felt alone, confused, frightened and uneducated about my condition. I didn’t know of anyone else with my condition and I felt that I would encounter stigmatism. All of this became my mission to learn everything there is to know about Epilepsy, meet others with the condition and provide a network where people could discover more about the condition and that they were NOT alone. That they have support and they do not need to feel ashamed in any way about having Epilepsy. 

Robert’s Sister:  What do you see as the greatest need for epilepsy awareness or advocacy and how do you help fulfill that need? 

I see that the greatest need for Epilepsy Awareness and Advocacy is: Understanding, Compassion, Education, and Opportunities to Be Heard.

What The Epilepsy Network (TEN) provides to fullfill that need is ALL of this and much more. We provide educational imagery and material, Factual and Myth Breaking Imagery and material, Inspirational and News Related Articles from around the world, Opportunities to speak out and let your voice be heard, Opportunities through unique missions to attempt to involve companies to show support (NFL Support Epilepsy Awareness & Turn Google Purple For Epilepsy) and we continue to grow providing more ways to learn more and do more to create change on behalf of Epilepsy Awareness. 

Robert’s Sister:  What do you want people to know about epilepsy and the people you are working to help?

What I want people to know about Epilepsy is that there are a staggering 65 million men women and children all around the world diagnosed with Epilepsy. Epilepsy can happen to anyone anywhere and at any time. It’s something that must be given spotlight. Must be given recognition. Must be freed from its stigma that still exists to this day. 

Robert’s Sister:  What are some events your organization hosts in order to raise funds and awareness?

The events that The Epilepsy Network (TEN) actively hosts in order to raise awareness are NFL Support Epilepsy Awareness, Turn Google Purple For Epilepsy and our Shine Your Light For Epilepsy Awareness event which is currently in its 2nd year, happening every November all month long.

It is our hope that we may convince the NFL to support Epilepsy Awareness on the field in November just as they do for Breast Cancer Awareness in October. Especially with the rise in Concussions within the sport. It is also our hope with Google, that they will support Epilepsy Awareness by featuring a Google Doodle on their home page any specific day in November in honor of Epilepsy Awareness. With Google’s estimated 300 million interactive users per day, it would pose as a wonderful educational opportunity for Epilepsy Awareness. Our Shine Your Light For Epilepsy Awareness event rallies families and businesses around the world to show their support for Epilepsy by shining one or more Purple lights causing individuals to inquire about the light therefore providing an opportunity to educate about Epilepsy!

Robert’s Sister: Tell us about your successes!

The Epilepsy Network (TEN) has successfully reached out to thousands of supporters from around the world whether they be diagnosed, friends and/or family of. We have successfully achieved support and shout-outs from various celebrities and athletes which are located within our Facebook page photo albums, I and the network have been featured previously in the Epilepsy Advocate magazine for my personal blog (TiffanyKairos.com), I have acquired multiple proclamations from cities in Ohio and the state of North Carolina and we hope to continue to achieve many successes as we grow. 

Robert’s Sister:   How has epilepsy and your organization affected your life?

Epilepsy has affected my life personally in the most positive of ways. As foreign as this may sound, I am thankful for my Epilepsy and feel that it is my blessing in disguise. My diagnosis and my organization The Epilepsy Network (TEN) have humbled me and has ignited my heart and soul in a multitude of ways. I have learned to embrace life as I had never done before. It has made me a much stronger and more vocal individual, I am achieving goals I never knew I were capable of. I am doing what I always wanted to do which is give of myself and help others. It has opened my eyes to what I feel is my purpose in life. It is something that continues to grow me, teach me and strengthen me. It is something I plan to do for the duration of my life. 

Robert’s Sister:  Please tell us what your involvement with your organization means to you.  Has this affected your own personal purpose?

My involvement with The Epilepsy Network (TEN) as the founder means the world to me. It gives me the opportunity to journey Epilepsy on a personal level but also advocate for Epilepsy in a way that I see best for the world. As the founder, I choose not to copy or mimic what anyone else is doing but to advocate in my own unique and special way. A way that I hope others will embrace and love.

Robert’s Sister:  Please tell us more about the person answering the questions here. 

Tiffany Kairos, 27, is a daughter, sister, and wife diagnosed with Epilepsy. Tiffany is also an Advocate for Epilepsy (The Epilepsy Network). She enjoys life to its fullest. A devout Christian, lover of music, and art. She also enjoys blogging, detailing her journey with Epilepsy (TiffanyKairos.com) and giving selflessly to helping anyone in need whether it be within her community or around the world. 

Thanks to Tiffany for sharing her story and her passion with Robert’s Sister!  I hope one day to see more purple on the football field during Epilepsy Awareness Month and to see Google recognize Epilepsy Awareness Month as well. 

Tiffany can be reached through her blog, Facebook, Twitter (at either @TENofficial or @TiffanyKairos), as well as LinkedIn

Let’s spread the purple! (And, no, I don’t want to talk about the Huskers' loss yesterday.)

1 comment:

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