March is Epilepsy awareness month, and SaultOnline spoke to Mary-Alice, the Sault Ste. Marie contact for Epilepsy Ontario.
Mary-Alice was working with children with disabilities for over 10 years when she had her first son. He was three years old when he began to have seizures, so Mary-Alice reached out to the local Epilepsy Society to find a community in the diagnosis.
The local Epilepsy Society has since closed the Sault Ste. Marie office and consolidated to fewer locations, and Mary-Alice remains the contact locally for the Epilepsy Society.
1 in 100 Canadians have epilepsy, and this brain disorder can begin to show itself at any age.
As the only contact in Sault Ste. Marie, Mary-Alice shares, “when people call me a lot of the time, it’s because we’re in Northern Ontario, and they have seen their family doctor but they haven’t seen their neurologist. And it’s very important to get those tests, to go down to Sick Kids, or to London to have those tests.”
“A lot of people that call me have lost their jobs, because their company found out that they have seizures, and not because they have seizures, but they find other reasons to have them lose jobs.”
“Trying to get their medication, the cost of the medication is amazing. If you were trying to work at a job and pay for medication, you would be basically working to pay for your medication.”
Mary-Alice shares the biggest issue in this month of awareness is dispelling the myths that surround epilepsy. Realizing that those who live with epilepsy usually do not share that with others in fear of judgment and miseducation.
Epilepsy Awareness month helps by opening up the conversation and inviting those who don’t deal with epilepsy on a daily basis to educate themselves and raise awareness for this brain disorder.
Mary-Alice can be reached at 705-254-8565, or by email [email protected]
If you or someone in your family has epilepsy, there are many supports out there for you.