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Bon Secours and the Epilepsy Foundation Partner for Epilepsy Awareness Walk

Event highlights seizure education during Epilepsy Awareness Month

Nov. 7, 2013 – Bon Secours Health System and the Epilepsy Foundation of Virginia (EFVA) have joined forces for Epilepsy Awareness Month and will hold a two-mile stroll to help Virginians learn more about seizures and to support EFVA’s programs and services. The Annual Epilepsy Awareness Stroll is on Nov. 10 at the Sunday Park Pavilion in Brandermill, Midlothian. Festivities begin at 1 p.m. The Pavilion is behind the Boathouse restaurant at 4602 Millridge Parkway, Midlothian, VA 23112.

“Epilepsy’s affects are multifaceted in terms of how the disorder manifests itself, the social stigma for those inflicted with the disorder and the misunderstanding of what do to if someone is having a seizure,” said Stacey Epps, M.D., executive medical director, Bon Secours Neuroscience Institute and vice president, Epilepsy Foundation of Virginia. “This event not only serves as a way to foster EFVA’s mission, it is an educational tool for those with epilepsy and the public to demystify the disorder.”

Organizers encourage participants to dress up as their favorite superhero or create their own epilepsy superhero; prizes will be awarded for the most creative costumes. The event’s superhero theme reminds participants that their voice is a superpower for those diagnosed with epilepsy.

The event will include remarks from Dr. Epps who will dispel common myths about epilepsy and Kathy O’Hara, RN, a member of EFVA, who will explain how to handle a situation in the event someone is having a seizure. Representatives from Bon Secours also will be collecting bikes for the epilepsy heroes and will be giving out helmets for bike safety. Informational brochures, free food and refreshments, as well as entertainment for children, will be available for participants.

Epilepsy is a complex disorder that affects millions of people in a variety of ways and is characterized by unpredictable seizures that differ in type, cause and severity. Living with epilepsy is about much more than just seizures. For people with epilepsy, the disorder is often defined in practical terms, such as challenges in school, uncertainties about social situations and employment, limitations on driving, and questions about independent living.

“The Strolls for Epilepsy are yearly opportunities to gather together, increase awareness and raise funds for epilepsy support in our community,” said Suzanne C. Bischoff, Ph.D., executive director, Epilepsy Foundation of Virginia. “Our voice is our greatest superpower. Joining us for a stroll speaks volumes to those with epilepsy and demonstrates a compassion and a willingness to understand what they desperately need.”

Approximately 1 in 26 people nationwide will develop epilepsy at some point in their lives, and the onset of epilepsy is highest in children and older adults. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, approximately 100,000 adults and children suffer from epilepsy. Only 50% of children with epilepsy complete high school. Many children with epilepsy suffer social isolation and approximately 20,000 adults with epilepsy are unemployed, and 30,000 are underemployed.

According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, epilepsy is the nation’s fourth most common neurological disorder after migraine, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease.

“Education for people with epilepsy and their families plays an important role in adapting to life with epilepsy, developing self-confidence, and competently managing the disorder and its associated health conditions,” Bischoff added.

For information on the event, people can call 804-549-9875, email or visit For those who won’t be able to attend this event and would like to make a donation to support EFVA’s programs and services, checks may be sent payable to the Epilepsy Foundation of Virginia, P.O. Box 1661, Midlothian, VA 23113.

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