Wednesday 17 April 2013

How do you solve a problem like Epilepsy?

To say the major epilepsy charities across the world and here in the UK, like Epilepsy Action, the Epilepsy Society, Young Epilepsy and others, have an up hill battle, is really quite a major understatement.

I was watching an advert for an appeal to raise funds for children's cancer cures and the power of the advert is something to behold. It's a very simple and dramatic message: "With your money you can help make sure that no young child should die from cancer".
The issue for epilepsy is we could still say: "With your money you can help make sure that no young child should die from epilepsy", or more specifically SUDEP. But that's not even half the story, yes young people die from SUDEP, but it spans a massive age range. Yes, it's a terrible condition that some people have to face, but the issue it throws up by saying that, is you create even more of a stigma for the people who live without severe epilepsy, but still suffer from it none the less. They actually suffer far more from the stigma of their label attached, forcing them to hide their condition and more seriously, put themselves in danger by doing so.

So how do you say: "With your money, you can help end deaths from epilepsy, you can help end the horrible suffering of isolation and the pain of epilepsy, you can help end the stigma of epilepsy, you can help inform everyone of how they can prevent injury from seizures", in a simple 60 second advert?
The answer is you can't take an example like 'young John' with his big brown eyes staring at you longing for help and cover all the bases, of the issues epilepsy throws up.
...The issue is you can only scratch the surface.

The other issue is the reason you don't see these kind of adverts scratching the surface of epilepsy, during your ad break between the first and second half of Coronation Street, is frankly, because of issues facing epilepsy stigma. It's not a common condition someone would choose out of the blue to donate to, so to put it simply, epilepsy charities could only afford to do advertising like this in their wildest dreams, unless something changes.

We have some celebrity supporters and notable individuals who suffer from the condition, but not in the same quantity we could have because of the stigma.

So the only thing I would ask is this:
If you get to finish reading this particular post, share it with someone else and ask them to share with their friends... try and encourage them to choose us. Epilepsy is still a Cinderella condition and trust me when I say, for those who do choose to get behind the cause of epilepsy, for whatever charity...

...there will be millions upon millions of people worldwide, who will be more grateful than you can ever imagine, than you did.