epilepsy's scourge

Before I had Calvin I thought that epilepsy was a benign disorder where you take a pill and everything is okay. That myth couldn't be further from the truth.

Epilepsy is as prevalent as, and more lethal than, breast cancer and tragically it often plagues children. Even so, and because of its long and recent history of fear, shame and stigma, it remains an obscure, underestimated, misunderstood, stigmatized and grossly under-funded disorder.

Epilepsy is the second most common neurological condition and afflicts about one in one hundred Americans. That’s more than multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s disease combined, and its incidence is on the rise.

The mortality rate of people with epilepsy is two to three times higher than the general population. The risk of accidental death is 24 times greater. Ten percent of people who die from epilepsy and related causes die from SUDEP: Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy, which is not completely understood but is thought to occur as the result of cardiac arrest or suffocation during a prolonged nocturnal seizure. Our son Calvin is in one of the highest risk categories for succumbing to SUDEP.

Epilepsy afflicts up to three times the number of Americans compared with Parkinson’s disease. Yet Parkinson’s enjoys more than four times the amount of funding from Pharma, nearly three times the government's funding and at least ten times the funding from private entities as compared with epilepsy. People with epilepsy, and parents of children with epilepsy, often hide their affliction for fear of discrimination, resulting in a colossal insufficiency of advocates.

In as many as 40% of cases seizures are not fully controlled with medication. But even those who are fortunate to be seizure free on drugs still suffer heinous, often debilitating side effects from medications and must remain on those drugs for years, if not for their entire lives.

Only one quarter of epilepsy research dollars targets finding a cure. The lion’s share goes toward developing treatments, such as medications, from which the pharmaceutical industry stands to gain billions, though sadly—miserably—medication is no more than a band-aid.

Please share Calvin's story with the world. Help level the playing field and bring us one step closer to a cure.

Share: http://www.calvinsstory.com
Give: http://www.calvinscure.com

photo by Michael Kolster

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