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Epilepsy Foundation Iowa - Guest Article

Thursday, August 15, 2019

 

 

The Epilepsy Foundation is the leading national voluntary health organization that speaks on behalf of the at least 3.4 million Americans with epilepsy and seizures. Our local chapter, Epilepsy Foundation Iowa, advocates and provides services in all 99 counties for the approximately 31,400 Iowans living with epilepsy and seizures. Together, we foster the well-being of children and adults affected by seizures through research programs, educational activities, advocacy and direct services.

Epilepsy is a medical condition characterized by seizures, which are sudden electrical surges in the brain, that affects a variety of mental and physical functions. Approximately one in 26 Americans will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime. There is no "one size fits all” treatment for epilepsy, and about a third of people living with epilepsy suffer from uncontrolled or intractable seizures, with many more living with significant side effects, despite available treatments. Uncontrolled seizures can lead to disability, injury and even death. The Epilepsy Foundation is committed to supporting physician-directed care and to exploring and advocating for all potential treatment options for epilepsy. People with uncontrolled seizures live with the continual risk of serious injuries and loss of life.

In addition to advocacy, Epilepsy Foundation Iowa provides information and referral to resources to help overcome challenges and improve quality of life. We offer a variety of educational training programs on seizure recognition and first aid to help people better understand how to respond to epilepsy in their profession. Trainings are for school personnel, school nurses, students, daycare providers, law enforcement, first responders, senior caregivers, direct support personnel, transportation drivers, civic organizations and more. We also organize and host our annual Iowa Seizure Smart Conference, which is an epilepsy education conference with epilepsy experts who speak on a variety of topics that impact people with epilepsy. The event features an exhibitor resource fair, a children’s education session and networking groups. Our work also includes holding Epilepsy Empowerment Group meetings in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City to provide education and support to families impacted by epilepsy and their caregivers. Additionally, we have epilepsy youth camp scholarships for youth to attend an epilepsy camp of their choice and a Kids Crew program to help raise awareness, educate others, share stories about epilepsy and join in events. We also hold our Walk to END EPILEPSY events in the spring in West Des Moines, Waterloo and Iowa City.

To learn more about the Epilepsy Foundation Iowa programs, services and upcoming events, go to www.epilepsyiowa.org or follow us on social media. Our National Epilepsy Foundation website at www.epilepsy.com provides credible information about epilepsy authored by medical professionals. You can connect with the executive director or Eastern Iowa program coordinator by calling 515-282-3580 or emailing Iowa@efa.org.

Visit http://advocacy.epilepsy.com/ to learn about the Epilepsy Foundation’s policy priorities and read about advocacy news. Once you’re there you can also join our “Speak Up Speak Out” advocacy network to help us raise awareness with public officials about the public policy issues important to the epilepsy community.