BY KAILENE NYE
The Epilepsy Foundation of Eastern Pennsylvania is hosting a series of events to bring awareness to epilepsy.
The events include a conference Wednesday from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the John Heinz Institute in Wilkes-Barre, an information session Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. at the Tunkhannock Public Library in Tunkhannock and a Bowl-A-Thon on Nov. 3 from 3 to 5 p.m. at Chacko’s Family Bowling in Wilkes-Barre.
They also do a Walk to End Epilepsy, support groups each month and Camp Achieve for children, among other events.
Mary Loughlin, resource coordinator of EFEPA, said the goal of events like these is to advocate for people living with epilepsy and help educate people on their reality.
“We want to educate, advocate, and help them to live a normal life of fulfillment. Anyway that we can help people so they can live a normal independent life to the best of their abilities. Some can’t and then we help them with that. Whatever the issues are we try to find ways to ease them,” she said.
Rena Loughlin, program director of EFEPA, added to that, saying she wants to give people with epilepsy the confidence to live a normal life.
“We really want to empower people to overcome the challenges associated with epilepsy,” she said.
The foundation, which serves Luzerne, Lackawanna, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties, originally started in Philadelphia in 1972, but only moved to Northeast Pennsylvania about 13 years ago. Mary Loughlin said there was a small support group for people with epilepsy and it grew from there.
She said these events are important because they show people they aren’t alone.
“There are so many people out there that feel like they’re alone and they truly aren’t. They could live a normal, good life, they just need the resources to help them. So, that’s what we think is really important, to be able to help people live a good life, live up to their potential, and not feel so isolated,” she said.
Rena Loughlin said she hopes people can learn how to be more supportive and understanding of people with epilepsy.
“I hope that people in the community can learn about epilepsy so they can be supportive and embrace people with epilepsy and really welcome them and support them,” she said.
Mary Loughlin hopes these and future events will help remove the stigma around epilepsy.
The conference and information session are free and open to the public. The Bowl-A-Thon costs $15, which covers shoes and snacks. Anyone interested in attending these events is asked to RSVP by contacting Mary at 570-592-1150 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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