Spotlight on Providing Support and Community Virtually in Alabama

Epilepsy Foundation Alabama

Epilepsy News From:

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Since 1971, Epilepsy Foundation Alabama (EFAL) has been part of the Epilepsy Foundation national network and joined as a chapter in 2018. EFAL serves the 54,000 people with epilepsy who live in Alabama. They recently held two very successful Walks to END EPILEPSY® in their state and continue to provide virtual support and opportunities to stay connected with the community during the coronavirus pandemic.

EFAL is led by Executive Director and woman living with epilepsy, Sara Franklin APR. In April 2020, Sara celebrated 1 year of seizure freedom!

Walking and Advocating Virtually in Alabama

In Spring 2020, EFAL held virtual walks for Montgomery, AL, on March 31, and Huntsville, AL, on April 18. Combined, both events had more than 200 participants logged on to join. After joining the calls, many walkers took to the streets of their community (while social distancing) to raise awareness for epilepsy with signs and purple clothing.

In combination with the virtual walk in Montgomery, EFAL also hosted their advocacy day virtually. Several state legislators joined the event as well as representatives from the Alabama State Department of Education and Alabama Board of Nursing. Some speakers at the combined event included:

  • Local EFAL board member Tim Wilson shared his daughter’s journey living with a rare epilepsy.
  • Dr. Katy Lalor, pediatric neurologist at the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) Pediatric Epilepsy Program, spoke on the importance Seizure Safe Schools legislation.
  • EFAL’s Teens Speak Up! 2020 representative Reed Jeffries and ambassador Caroline Rowe spoke about their recent trip to Washington, D.C., to advocate for needs of those living with epilepsy.
Team Ozzie

The virtual walk in Huntsville included:

  • Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle shared his support for EFAL in some opening remarks.
  • A teen living with epilepsy named Jayla D. opened the event by singing the national anthem.
  • Local EFAL board member Chad Odell, whose wife lives with epilepsy, called in live from the hospital where his daughter had recently been delivered.
  • A local volunteer named Amy shared information about her 3-year-old child’s battle with epilepsy.

Both events included updates on the statewide initiative for a specialty END EPILEPSY license plate. Learn how you can support an END EPILEPSY license plate tag if you live in Alabama.

Watch the recording of the virtual walk in Montgomery.

“Hearing the stories and mission moments during our recent virtual events continue to give us inspiration,” said Sara Franklin, Executive Director, Epilepsy Foundation Alabama. “Being able to reach people with epilepsy in our state virtually has been our new focus and we look forward to other virtual events in the near future.” 

Hearing the stories and mission moments during our recent virtual events continue to give us inspiration, Sara Franklin.

Providing Support and Information During a Crisis

The recent coronavirus pandemic has shifted many routine medical visits to telemedicine. To help the epilepsy community in Alabama, the Epilepsy Foundation Alabama recorded two interviews with epileptologists on how to prepare for telemedicine visits.

Staying Engaged with Alabamians Across the State

“Since the majority of our focus during the pandemic is now through reaching people virtually, we are planning the launch of a podcast for Epilepsy Foundation Alabama,” Franklin said. “We’re also planning a virtual support group for May.”

The podcast will include local EFAL staff, advisory board members, and local Alabamians and feature key programs of the Epilepsy Foundation. 

On May 8, EFAL is hosting including “Zoomin’ to the Zoo” where kids will introduce themselves and show off their favorite stuffed animal or pet. Dr. Katy Lalor will also attend to talk about self-management tips for living with epilepsy, like taking medication on time and getting enough sleep.

Epilepsy Foundation Alabama Walk

More About Epilepsy Foundation Alabama

Thank you to Epilepsy Foundation Alabama for everything you are doing to support your community virtually!

Authored by: Sara Franklin APR on 5/2020
Reviewed by: Liz Dueweke MPH on 5/2020

Our Mission

The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives.

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