Monday, November 10, 2014

Epilepsy Awareness Month Day 10: It’s A Small World

When Robert was diagnosed with epilepsy as a child our family believed epilepsy was a rare condition. I have no idea why we thought this but it is actually very common (and the belief that epilepsy is rare is a common misconception). 

We finally got to see It's a Small World! 
According to the Epilepsy Foundation, “Epilepsy is the 4th most common neurological problem – only migraine, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease occurs more frequently.”  

Epilepsy is not a rare condition but there is terrible stigma still associated with it. The more we talk openly about epilepsy – the more mainstream it becomes to talk about it – the less room there will be for the stigma.

Talking about epilepsy, understanding epilepsy and knowing as much as possible about epilepsy will squeeze out the stigma.

One way epilepsy advocates are helping to spread epilepsy awareness is through the Epilepsy Awareness Day at Disneyland and the Epilepsy Expo.  It was terrific meeting so many people affected by epilepsy. It amazes me how many wonderful epilepsy advocates there are!

There must have been at least 1,500 people at Disneyland in purple “Epilepsy Awareness Day at Disneyland” shirts! It was inspiring to walk through the parks seeing how many others are affected by epilepsy, all doing their part to raise awareness.

Epilepsy is not rare and neither are the people advocating for education, treatment and a cure.

What better way to spread awareness than at the Happiest Place on Earth?

We loved meeting Cindy Mitchell who pulled this event together and whose son, Robert, has epilepsy.  Our Robert got a kick out of meeting Cindy’s Robert and was tickled they shared a name and a love of card games. Cindy is an ambassador for the Danny Did Foundation and a patient liaison for Realm of Caring.

We met the lovely Julie Hutchison of the Chelsea Hutchison Foundation – an inspiring woman who participated in our 2012 Epilepsy Awareness Month interviews.

Robert was particularly thrilled to meet (and be recognized by) the teens of the Epilepsy Awareness Squad. They recently featured Robert’s story on their website and meeting them felt like meeting old friends.

Robert talks about meeting other people with epilepsy while at the Epilepsy Awareness Day at Disneyland and his excitement is evident.

After all, it really is a small world!

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