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Greetings from Toby's Foundation!
|TOBY’S FOUNDATION Participates in Community
Partnership Series "A Focus on Epilepsy Panel and Essay
Reading" Sponsored by the Office of Service-Learning &
Department of Dance at Chapman University, Orange, CA
This was Toby’s Foundation’s first time at a
meeting focusing on people affected by and living with
epilepsy. Toby’s Foundation set up a booth for the meeting.
The meeting allowed us the opportunity to share information
about canine epilepsy and the work that we are doing to
support the research to find the genes responsible for canine
epilepsy and develop a screening test. We were also able to
share about the similarities between the canine and human
populations affected by epilepsy.
The meeting consisted
of campus and community representatives discussing epilepsy
and its impact on individuals, families and the community.
There was a presentation by children about their experience
living with epilepsy and a video that a mother provided of her
4 year old daughter who has seizures. The challenges and
heartbreak of having a child with seizures was evident and
deeply moving. There was also some discussion about the stigma
that is still associated with epilepsy. The Director of
Programs and Services for the Epilepsy Alliance of Orange
County provided an overview of epilepsy and information on the
programs and services offered for adults and children with
epilepsy. Epilepsy is a major health problem that still does
not receive the attention that other diseases do. It was
reported that epilepsy affects approximately 1 in 50 children
and 1 in 100 adults.
What we found striking throughout the
meeting were the similarities between human and canine
epilepsy as to the types of seizures, the treatment options
available, in particular, the medications used by both humans
and canines with epilepsy and the depth and breadth of emotion
and thought expressed by those who have the disease and those
who love and care for them. Most people at the conference that
we spoke with had little or no idea that dogs were affected by
the disease and were further surprised that the seizures and
medications were identical. As a caregiver of our beloved dog
Toby who is affected with epilepsy I was able to share the
struggles and challenges of living with and caring for an
epileptic dog. The way in which this disease turns your life
upside down was also very similar. This is a life altering
disease for both humans and canines and their
I saw people with epilepsy and those who
love and care for them going through many of the same things
that we do. I found myself wishing that these two populations
who are hurting and facing similar challenges because of
epilepsy could reach out to each other. We are not alone in
our fight against epilepsy. Maybe we can help one another to
lighten the burden, to share the heartache and to bring
comfort and healing by offering hope and help to each
Find out if there is a local epilepsy group that
you can help in some way. Perhaps a planned activity for
children and teens with epilepsy who might enjoy meeting a
therapy dog affected or unaffected by the disease and an
epileptic dog. In helping others we so often help
Pam Douglas, J.D.
AussiE-Update Volume III, No. 15
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Laguna Niguel, California 92607
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