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Epilepsy Awareness - How You Can Make a Difference

Justin is one of many who want to help make a difference. The father of two young daughters, one of whom has epilepsy, he decided to take action in recognition of Epilepsy Awareness Month.

Justin and his wife contacted the Epilepsy Therapy Project to share their ideas and to form a plan to "Dine Out For Epilepsy Reasearch" on November 18, 2008. By simply asking local restaurants to participate, they were able to generate community-wide interest in the event!

Participating restaurants will donate 10% of their November 18, 2008 gross sales to the Epilepsy Therapy Project, the goal of which is to raise $5,000. Every dollar of the money raised goes directly to epilepsy research.

Justin and his wife are just one of many who want to make a difference. Some of you might not know where to start or what you can do. So here are some ideas that will help raise awareness and allow you to make a difference in the search for new therapies and a cure for epilepsy.

Donations. Of course you already know about donating. Did you realize that even $5 makes a difference? We have a $5 campaign running right now. Each month 200,000 people come to epilepsy.com for information and community. If each person gives just $5 we will raise $1,000,000 to put toward research for new therapies for people with epilepsy. Take a moment to give $5 or more and tell one friend or family member and ask them to give $5 too. In no time we will all have made a difference.

Fundraising. It has a kind of ominous sound to it. It can actually be really easy if you get creative (or if you steal some ideas from someone else)! There are all the traditional ways to raise money like hosting a marathon or a race or even going door-to-door to ask for money. But if you want to do something more creative, hold a bake sale, a car wash, take friends or family to the airport and have them make a donation, babysit for a neighbor or family member and have them make a donation instead of paying you. When it's your birthday, ask your family and friends to make a donation to the Epilepsy Therapy Project in honor of you and your birthday -- or anniversary, or wedding. Pick an event or festivity or make one up.

To make any of these fundraising ideas easier, we've found a way to manage them online with Firstgiving. Just go to our Firstgiving start page and setup your own webpage for collecting money. Create the page with your story, your photos, even a video if you like! Tell everyone about your story. Email everyone you know from your page and ask them to give -- even a small amount. Every dollar helps! Then share your story in the Community Forum. You can ask questions and get help there too!

Shopping. Yes. You can help by shopping. With the holiday season just around the corner what a better way to make people aware of epilepsy and support it at the same time? We have an online shopping mall that is just loaded with stores that donate a percentage of the money you spend to the Epilepsy Therapy Project. There are stores for products like clothes, shoes, jewelry, appliances, tools, books, CDs, toys, and services like travel, credit services, movie rentals, weight loss centers, cell phone services and more! Just go to the epilespy.com Shopping Mall every time you are going to shop online. It's just one extra click of a mouse and you support epilepsy research without spending a penny more than you originally planned to.

We have a new fundraising partner for Epilepsy Awareness Month - The Fruit Company. You can see their ad below. I once received a gift from someone that came from The Fruit Company and I was hooked. I've been sending their gifts ever since to people who have everything and don't need anything -- or won't tell me what they could use or would like for a holiday or birthday or other festive event. Their fruit is of the best quality and all are presented in a beautiful and creative way either in boxes or baskets. Especially the baskets make a gift that can be re-used over and over. I'm excited to be able to give my gifts this holiday season and have 15% of my purchase support epilepsy research. You can do this too!

Sharing your story. You help to raise awareness by participating in the epilepsy.com community. Participation many times leads to new ideas on how to let people know what epilepsy is and that we need more research. Read SassyMindy's forum entry on how you can help raise awareness by contacting the media and how to do it. She gives us lots of great ideas that anyone can do online, or by writing a letter, or making a phone call. Others have contributed to the forum with ideas also. They are all easy.

Get started doing your part to raise awareness now. Don't wait! You Can Do It! Start now.

by Karen Dredske