Updated: November 24, 2020 10:43 PM
Created: November 24, 2020 03:14 PM
November is Epilepsy Awareness Month. The Epilepsy Foundation's focus this year is to silence the stigma that comes with epilepsy by speaking more about it.
A Duluth man shared his experience after being diagnosed a year ago and discussed the importance of more education on epilepsy.
"I can honestly say that I was one of those many that knew nothing about epilepsy until a year and a half ago when I was diagnosed with it," said Ron Thompson.
Thompson was taken back when he unexpectedly experienced his first seizure last year.
"51 years of relatively good health and then all of a sudden being told I have epilepsy, I didn't know what to think to tell you the truth," said Thompson.
It was all new to him but since then Thompson has been getting a lot of support from the Epilepsy Foundation. However, the foundation said although they do a lot of education and awareness, there are still a lot of misunderstandings about epilepsy.
"You can develop epilepsy at any age and seizures don't always look like people think," said Lisa Peterson, the Northland regional coordinator of the Epilepsy Foundation.
That's why this year they are focusing on silencing the stigma that comes with epilepsy by speaking more and more about it and encouraging others to share their journey with epilepsy.
"There's a lack of understanding when people don't talk about it and others around them don't know what to do when a seizure happens," said Peterson.
Peterson had epilepsy and said it's more common than we think.
"Anyone can have epilepsy. It can be you, someone you love, your friend, your neighbor, so it's important for everyone to know how to help someone having seizure," said Peterson.
According to the Epilepsy Foundation, one in 26 people will develop epilepsy in their lifetime.
"The more we talk about it the more we help others understand it and will be a better place for all people who live with epilepsy," said Peterson.
The foundation said education and awareness is key. They have a training program that teaches people how to identify different seizures and help people having a seizure. They've noted the difference it makes and encourage people to support those who have epilepsy by listening and learning.
"The more others are aware of what's going on with you the more they can actually help you out and be aware of things going on with your life," said Thompson.
To learn more about epilepsy, click here.
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