2015 Colorado Gives Day
EFCO Ambassador Angie's Story
Hi. I’m Angie.
I work here at the Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado (EFCO), and I am one of faces of the tens of thousands of individuals who have been affected by epilepsy. While I have not been diagnosed with epilepsy myself, my brother was.
Cancer took my brother’s life last year, but I remember the decades where seizures were a constant shadow that followed him. I remember the stares, the elbow nudges, the pointing – and sometimes the snide comments from those who were around when he had a seizure. I remember the shame he felt over having seizures and his concern about having them when other people were around. I remember being afraid he’d be hit by a car or fall down the stairs if he had a seizure while walking along his daily life. And I remember the despair I felt watching him, waiting for his seizures to run its course and knowing his seizures had taken him somewhere that I couldn’t reach him or help him.
Do you know what else I remember? I remember his smile, which made the sun shine brighter whenever I saw it. I remember his awesome sense of humor and the way he relished getting on my last nerve – after all, big brothers are supposed to torture their little sisters (!!). I remember how he loved me better than anyone else on this earth and how I could always count on him. And I remember the difference I saw in his face and his stature when we found EFCO. The safety and relief he felt whenever he was around the community at the Foundation was visible. The best way I could describe it is…freedom. In the Foundation, he found the freedom to be himself – without ridicule or judgment, or even fear from those around him.
The programs and services at the Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado are critical. They serve and support individuals (like my brother) and their families (like me) who are often overlooked, underserved and marginalized in society. You’ve heard other EFCO Ambassadors mention that November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month as they’ve shared their stories, and as the month comes to a close, I’d like to ask you help us promote epilepsy awareness beyond this month. Because epilepsy is one of the least understood major chronic medical conditions, and the effects of epilepsy touch so many people every day, all year long– from the individual who is diagnosed to the family, friends and caregivers for whom epilepsy is a journey that is just as personal and deep.
I’d also like to ask you to consider making a contribution to supporting the mission, program and services of the Foundation. There are over 50,000 individuals living with epilepsy in Colorado, with tens of thousands more who love them, care for them and advocate on their behalf. This is EFCO’s community. This is who we are called to serve. Will you join us in extending the reach of the Foundation’s programs and services so we can support them?
EFCO is very intentional about ensuring that contributions are poured into programs and services, with very little going towards administration. To make a contribution to support the Foundation today, please visit www.epilepsycolorado.org/donate.
Thanks for reading my story – which is not unlike so many other stories of individuals served by EFCO. I hope you’ll partner with us in raising awareness and supporting individuals with epilepsy. Together, we’ll build a culture in Colorado where people like my brother won’t have to endure ridicule, stares or fear from others because he’s having a seizure. Together we’ll serve, support and celebrate individuals with epilepsy because they are unique, wonderful, talented and beautiful – just like my brother was. Together, we will make a difference.