“When I entered the room of my beautiful little daughter 23 years ago and found her having a seizure that would last an hour, I was terrified. Little did we know then how much our lives were about to change and the overwhelming uncertainty of what lay ahead.”
Carol Delizzio will never forget the way she felt when her daughter Allison was diagnosed with epilepsy at just six years old. It’s the way many parents, individuals and caregivers feel upon receiving an epilepsy diagnosis. What can I expect next? Will I live a lifetime like this? Will my child be able to keep up with school, have any friends, or have a job? Or worse, will my child become another statistic as one of the 50,000 individuals with epilepsy that die from seizures each year? The combination of financial, physical and emotional stressors is enough to leave even the strongest of people feeling depressed, hopeless and alone.
Unwilling to let Allison’s seizures keep them down, the Delizzios looked for help and found it in the Epilepsy Foundation Eastern Pennsylvania. Through EFEPA’s Camp Achieve, a summer camp for children with epilepsy, Allison met other kids with whom she could feel accepted and safe, while Carol found much needed comfort from other parents going through the same experience. They realized they were not alone in their battle.
“Meeting the people at the Foundation who truly care was amazing.” Carol remembers, “We were so grateful for their support. It finally gave us a sense of hope.” Empowered by their experience Carol and Allison began attending EFEPA Conferences and Support Groups where they learned how to better cope with seizures. Eventually Allison became a Team Captain at the Summer Stroll, the Foundation’s annual 5 mile walk for Epilepsy. Among the Summer Stroll community, Allison stands tall as someone who refuses to back down against epilepsy, no matter how tough it can get.
And it gets tough—really tough. Two decades after her diagnosis Allison still lives with uncontrolled seizures. She wakes up each day unsure how many seizures she will have. Whether she will fall and hurt herself, whether she will be OK. But she and Carol know where they can turn for help—the Epilepsy Foundation Eastern Pennsylvania. For over 40 years we have been leading the fight to end epilepsy and overcome the challenges created by seizures through education, support and advocacy. The fight against epilepsy is not easy, and it certainly is not quick. It takes time, dedication and perseverance. It takes an army. An army of dedicated supporters, volunteers and donors like you.
Without your support, we would not be able to provide our free programs and services for those affected by epilepsy like Allison and Carol. Our goal this year is to raise $25,000 to help fund programs such as seizure first aid training for schools and first responders, monthly support groups, information and referral services and educational conferences. Join the fight against epilepsy by making a gift today. Show the 110,000 people in our 18 county service area diagnosed with epilepsy know that they are not alone. We’re in it together.