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Working To Overcome Challenges Of Epilepsy

By Lacey Shimabukuro, Epilepsy Foundation of Hawaii board president

One in 26 people in the United States will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime, yet most individuals know nothing about epilepsy.


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Jax, Ty and Gavin Shimabukuro enjoying the activities at last year's Sharon's Ride.Run.Walk for Epilepsy LACEY SHIMABUKURO PHOTO

My younger son Jax had a febrile seizure (a seizure triggered by a fever) just before his first birthday. Colds and ear infections led to more febrile seizures, then Jax began having seizures without fever and was diagnosed with epilepsy. Rough weeks followed, with Jax having up to 13 seizures a day.

I contacted Epilepsy Foundation of Hawaii (EFH) and attended monthly support groups, where I learned about services available to families like mine. EFH made me realize I wasn’t alone. Because of EFH’s seizure training at Jax’s preschool, his teachers are now able to recognize different types of seizures and respond appropriately in these situations. I am grateful to the EFH and now serve as president of its board of directors.

EFH’s mission is to stop seizures and sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP), find a cure, and overcome the challenges of epilepsy through education, advocacy and research. We promote epilepsy awareness and education, and offer seizure training to teachers, social workers, nurses, employers and other community members. We serve an average of 50 people per month through education and training sessions, support groups, keiki art, referral/advocacy services and an annual educational conference. We are looking for volunteers to help expand our programs statewide.

Founded in 1971, EFH is a small organization that struggles with funding, but we operate because we see the need for our services in our community. We welcome community support through donations of money and goods, event sponsorships and through volunteer work. Join us Jan. 25 to support EFH and the 15,000 Hawaii residents living with epilepsy. Sharon’s Ride.Run.Walk for Epilepsy includes bike rides, timed runs, a walk and a keiki bike-safety course.

More information on epilepsy and EFH programs and events is available at epilepsyhawaii.org. Contact us at efh@epilepsyhawaii.org or 528-3058, and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Most individuals know nothing about epilepsy, but together we can change that as a community.

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