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EFCO Ambassador Anthony's Story
My name is Anthony. I’m 47, and I have epilepsy. My epilepsy put me in prison. It sounds crazy, but it’s the truth. One day I was going about my business, and the next thing I remember, I woke up in the Limon Correctional Facility. I was hogtied with my hands cuffed behind my back and my shackled feet chained to them. Officers reported they did that because I had been so “violent”- but actually, I was convulsing and unable to respond to commands because I was having a bad seizure. I was told I spit on a police officer and that it was a felony. No one made the connection that I didn’t do any of this on purpose, even though my epilepsy diagnosis came while I was in prison. I had to spend three years of my life in prison. I never want to go through that again.
After I got out of prison, I was homeless. This was a problem for lots of reasons, but especially because I was anxious about being out in public. What if I had another seizure and was sent back to prison because of it? I felt like my life was like jumping off a bridge –like I didn’t have much control. Then Jenn, from the Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado (EFCO), found me when I was at my neuro clinic. She got me to join PEARLS, a Program Encouraging Active and Rewarding Lives. It’s a counseling program for people like me who find themselves at a place in life that feels hard. Jenn makes me feel comfortable. When my mind was spinning and I felt like committing suicide, I called Jen and she helped me. She and EFCO got me a medical alert bracelet so I don’t have to be anxious about being out in public. They helped me find the right resources to get on track so I could be the man I am – someone just like anyone else who enjoys life and lives it to the best of my ability.
The Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado helped me make my life better. I’m not homeless anymore. I’m happy, and I have hope. If you have epilepsy and you feel alone, call the Foundation. They will help you.
If you can help other people like me, call EFCO and see how you can help. If you can give a donation, please do because you can help EFCO change people’s lives. If you already support EFCO, then thank you for helping Jenn and EFCO serve people like me.
For more information on EFCO and to see how to help or make a donation, please visit www.epilepsycolorado.org.