Dear editor,

I am writing about something that is very near and dear to my heart, Epilepsy. Epilepsy is a neurological condition that causes repeated seizures over time. Seizures are episodes of disturbed brain activity that can cause changes in attention or behavior. My name is Michelle and I have had Epilepsy since the age of two years old. Epilepsy has robbed me of being able to do some of the same things as other people, such as drive.

The medications cause many side effects and can sometimes be very expensive. Epilepsy is not a condition which is talked about and has been that way since I was a small child. There is a lot of stigma associated with Epilepsy. Epilepsy will affect 1 in 26 people in their lifetime. It affects more people worldwide than multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and parkinsons combined. Yet the public is not educated about it and it doesn't get the awareness that other conditions do. Not only do I suffer from seizures but my daughter does as well. Of course, she is one of the lucky ones and is now 16 months seizure free, but not everyone is that lucky. During the last few years I have met many wonderful people with Epilepsy and that would not have happened without our local Epilepsy Foundation. Unfortunately, just recently there were two losses in the epilepsy community and we are all devastated and so very, very sad. My daughter, Sofie, is the 2012 Kids Speak Up Speak out representative for the Epilepsy Foundation of Ms. We have been to Washington, DC where she learned how to be a teen advocate for Epilepsy, as well as went to Capitol Hill and spoke with legislative health aides for several congressmen and senators. My daughter and I, are currently trying to help raise awareness about Epilepsy and get everyone to sign the petition to support HR 298 the Raise Resolution. The Raise Resolution was created to promote greater awareness and understanding about epilepsy among government agencies that come in contact with so many millions in this country living with epilepsy. The resolution asks for no additional money just a greater effort by the Federal government to coordinate the use of epilepsy awareness and educational programs that have already been created.

Sincerely,

Michelle Grinder

228-206-4909

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