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Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain marked by sudden disruptions of its electrical system. These events are called seizures, which are typically brief, and overwhelm the usual functions of the brain. Epilepsy has no single cause, but can originate from any number of conditions that injure or affect the function of the brain.
In the United States, one in one-hundred, or one percent of, individuals are diagnosed with epilepsy; approximately 66,500 of those individuals in Arizona. One in ten individuals will have a seizure in his or her lifetime. Epilepsy costs about $15.5 billion in medical expenses and lost or reduced earnings and productivity each year. One-third of all people with epilepsy will continue to have uncontrolled seizures despite treatment.
The mission of The Epilepsy Foundation of Arizona is to “lead the fight to stop seizures, find a cure and overcome challenges created by epilepsy.” There are currently 17 programs offered by the Foundation Our overall objectives focus on the 65,000 people in Arizona who have epilepsy by:
1. Providing information on how to live successfully with epilepsy
2. Making education and networking opportunities available for those who have epilepsy and their families.
3. Conducting professional and lay seminars on new advancements in epilepsy treatment.
4. Providing Camp Candlelight, a one week summer camp experience exclusively designed for children with epilepsy.
5. Reaching out to African-Americans, Native Americans and Latino communities, to offer specific training for medical interpreters and community health workers.
6. Offering education and training to school nurses, school personnel and students about epilepsy. Programs include Managing Students with Seizures and the Take Charge of the Facts, an epilepsy curriculum for junior high and high school students, and other age appropriate programs.
7. Developing and offering an educational module focusing on seniors, their families and caregivers and offered through assisted living facilities, intergenerational facilities and senior centers.
8. Performing an awareness campaign for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who have sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury and are at an increased risk of developing post-traumatic epilepsy. Operation Outreach is our approach to educating, advocating, assisting, and counseling.
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