By Alnierys Venegas
In the fall of 2012, I became a team member at the Epilepsy of Greater Chicago. I was brought on board with the task of developing the foundation’s Hispanic Outreach program. Additionally, I have been charged with overseeing the area support groups. Over the last year, I have had the privilege of learning about the programs and services offered at the foundation, specifically the support groups.
What I have realized over the last year is that epilepsy is challenging. Regardless of the cultural background, we are all in the fight together. Whether you are dealing with the disorder or dealing with the stigma, there are many challenges (as a person with epilepsy) that you may face on a daily basis.
Sometimes doing this is difficult, not only for you, but also for your family and friends.
Support groups can provide a means for people affected by epilepsy to meet and provide mutual support through discussions, presentations, and organized activities. They create a supportive environment in which you, as a person with Epilepsy, or your families can:
- Share concerns
- Share successes
- Share coping strategies
- Learn from one another
- Meet others with epilepsy; or
- Support others
As I observed the support groups to speak to clients about their needs, I realized that the commitment to provide support to the Epilepsy community should continue to grow.
The foundation is now hosting support groups in Spanish in predominately Hispanic-based communities like Cicero and Logan Square. We’ve standardized our support group volunteer process to provide more structure and support to the tremendous people who commit their time and efforts to provide encouragement to those affected or have loved ones affected by Epilepsy. And, have recently begun a Men’s Support group to continue to be inclusive of the needs of underserved populations.
So, whether you’re a parent of a child with newly-diagnosed epilepsy and in search of guidance from those who have been there, an adult with epilepsy who is looking for advice and encouragement from others, or just someone looking for camaraderie from others who understand the challenges of living with epilepsy, we have a support group that’s just right for you.
We even have groups specially designed for caregivers and loved ones! Most groups meet monthly, but schedules and locations can change, so please call 312-939-8622 before attending any group for the first time to confirm meeting details.