When I was three or four years old, I remember awaking to my parents rushing my sister to the Emergency Room. Ultimately, my sibling was diagnosed with epilepsy and continues to have infrequent seizures today.
I joined EFNC in January 2006, my first job after college. Within four months of working at the Foundation, I was chatting with a young mother of two whose husband was living with epilepsy (sadly, at 37, he passed away from Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy).
She asked me, “Bill, why did you get involved with the Foundation?” I replied, “Well, my sister has epilepsy so I have a personal connection to the cause.” She replied that siblings of individuals with disabilities have a higher than normal pursuit of mission driven causes. At that moment, I realized that so many decisions I have made were affected by my sibling’s epilepsy, and had been unconsciously decided.
Over the past five years, I have been reminded that many individuals overcome challenges that the majority of the public does not appreciate or understand. Epilepsy is a hidden disability that often impacts one’s quality of life. Some respond well to diagnosis, others do not, and many try to ignore the situation. Fortunately, my parents took a proactive role in supporting our family early on. We volunteered at Epilepsy Foundation events, participated in epilepsy camps, and attended conferences where we met other families who shared similar circumstances. As a result, our family has become more cohesive and supporting of each other. I hope this is the outcome for other families who have a loved one living with epilepsy.