Educating people about epilepsy can help reduce the stigma people living with the neurological disorder often face at work or in school. It’s for this reason Epilepsy Niagara is working to secure funding through a contest to launch a multimedia awareness campaign — and the agency needs your support to achieve its goal.
Epilepsy Niagara is competing for funding in the nationwide Aviva Community Fund contest. If it gets enough public votes on the contest’s website, the agency will be better positioned to have its proposal, which centres on raising epilepsy awareness by engaging local schools and the business community, considered by a judging panel.
The awareness campaign would aim to educate people about epilepsy and help erase negative perceptions of the neurological disorder, explains Epilepsy Niagara outreach co-ordinator Bob Romeo. From experience, Romeo says this has been an effective strategy.
“There’s a stigma towards (epilepsy) and every time we go out and do different presentations and things like that people are blown away with the information because they may have a student or a co-worker who has epilepsy,” says Romeo.
“We try to talk about how every person reacts to a seizure differently. We want to get that (type of information) out in the community and let everyone know how many people are affected. We would like to go around to businesses as well to let employers know that you can hire someone with epilepsy, that they can work like anybody else.”
The epilepsy awareness multimedia campaign proposed includes running print and radio advertisements as well as creating an awareness video that would be played at businesses and schools.
Epilepsy Niagara executive director Kristin Welton says people should also know that if an awareness video were produced as a result of funding it could be used to better educate people about epilepsy from coast to coast.
“This isn’t just a Niagara-based multimedia campaign — it’s something that can be used throughout the province and across Canada. It benefits everyone who is living with or is affected by epilepsy,” she says.
Romeo adds the long-term effect from an epilepsy awareness multimedia campaign would be more understanding about the neurological disorder as well as other facets of awareness, such as epilepsy first-aid training for schools and businesses.
The epilepsy support agency entered the Aviva Community Fund contest in the autumn and has made it to the semi-final round of voting, which will run Dec. 3-12, with judging to take place Dec. 20 to Jan. 28. The organization has entered the medium funding contest, which provides a $50,000 to $100,000 prize to one winner.
As part of the competition, community organizations submit fundraising ideas, budgets and goals. Organizations then use social-media tools like Twitter and Facebook to get votes by spreading awareness of what they’re trying to achieve.
You can cast your vote for Epilepsy Niagara by clicking here.
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Writer: Deron Hamel