Ms. Garrison, a single mother, has been an epilepsy advocate since 1994. Her 1st experience was after her 6 month old son, Christopher, was diagnosed with epilepsy. His pediatrician told Ms. Garrison that her son would never walk. A few months later Ms. Garrison had the opportunity to walk with her son into that very same doctor’s office. As he had a look of disbelief on his face, Ms. Garrison explained to the doctor, “Never tell a mother what her child will never do.” Ms. Garrison felt that through a lot of love and encouragement her son, and others like him, could progress far beyond anyone’s expectations. Since that memorable day, Ms. Garrison has traveled throughout the United States being trained on epilepsy and advocacy.
After years of epilepsy related volunteer work, in 2005, Ms. Garrison decided it was time to start an epilepsy organization in her own community. After months of preparation, The Epilepsy Center was established in January 2006. It is a non profit 501 c (3) that provides services for people living in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties dealing with epilepsy.
Epilepsy, Know the Facts
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that is caused by the misfiring of brain cells. It affects more than 2.7 million Americans; that's 1 in every 100 adults and 1 in every 50 children. Epilepsy is often overlooked as well as misunderstood. It is very common for people with epilepsy to suffer from depression and to hide the fact that they suffer from the disorder. This is partially due to stigma and stereotypes that society still has about epilepsy. This silence must be broken.
*More people suffer from epilepsy than those with Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and muscular dystrophy combined.
*Each year there are over 100,000 newly diagnosed cases.
*Every 4 minutes a person in the US is diagnosed with Epilepsy.
*Seizures can happen at any age and at any time.
*As many people die of epilepsy than of breast cancer or traffic accidents.
*One is every 50 children has epilepsy.
*There is a lack of education within the general population about epilepsy.
*Knowing what to do when someone has a seizure could save their life.
Why Is The Epilepsy Center so important to those with epilepsy?
Prior to the existence of The Epilepsy Center, the Inland Empire did not have a local organization dedicated to providing services to families who were affected by epilepsy, nor was there a local agency to provide epilepsy education to the general public. The state of ostracism that was caused by a lack of these services often lead to valid feelings of helplessness, abandonment, and isolation. These families should not have to travel for hours to attend conferences and other forums in order to educate and empower themselves.
The Epilepsy Center offers local help through such free services as community resources, support, advocacy, epilepsy educational classes, conferences, a 5th grade education program, and other services that are specifically designed for people who are affected by epilepsy.
The Epilepsy Center also offers annual recreational events such as a Disability Fair, Candlelight Jazz Celebration, an Epilepsy Unity Walk, and Christopher's Camp.
The Epilepsy Center is dedicated to bringing hope to those effected by epilepsy through continued services, support, and education.