By Deron Hamel
When people share their stories about living with epilepsy it often inspires others to do the same. This not only helps build a stronger community among those living with epilepsy, but many of these stories also provide hope to those living with seizure disorders.
Steve Rutledge contacted Epilepsy Ontario in February to offer his story about how neurosurgery he had 25 years ago changed his life for the better. Rutledge had lived with epilepsy for 10 years before he had corrective surgery on Sept. 4, 1990. Since then, he has been seizure-free.
Being seizure-free has also encouraged Rutledge to become active in helping people with epilepsy and raising awareness of the condition. He is a volunteer with Epilepsy Peterborough and Area who helps organize events to raise money and, more importantly, he says, raise awareness of epilepsy.
“I am trying to make more people aware of what epilepsy is and how they can help not only themselves but people around them,” he said. “After all the help that I got, I want to give something back.”
Shortly after Epilepsy Ontario published Rutledge’s story on the Voices of Epilepsy news site, Rob Jamieson, a sergeant with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), responded in the comment section to share his story about living with epilepsy, saying that “when I read other people’s stories I don’t feel alone and in some ways very fortunate.”
Soon after, Jamieson shared his story with Voices of Epilepsy which acknowledged the support he has received from the OPP and from his fellow officers.
“(Their support) allowed me to continue in a career that I love. It allowed me to retain my dignity, which was integral. It allowed me to lead a team and to give back to the community,” he said.
Do you have a story about living with epilepsy to tell? Have you experienced challenges you have had to overcome? Maybe you are struggling with an issue right now that you would like to share with others. Do you know of an employer or organization that has gone the extra mile in accommodating people living with seizure disorders? How about a teacher that who has worked hard to support a child in the classroom?
Epilepsy Ontario wants to hear your story. Tell us about your family, workplace, school or community experiences. To share your story, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or by e-mail at deron(at)axiomnews.com.