Involuntary twitching or shaking, severe bodily stiffness, changes in awareness, loss of consciousness, and unusual sensory perceptions and thoughts — these are all things experienced by people living with epilepsy.
Epilepsy consists of a group of neurological disorders in which the affected person experiences bursts of excess neuronal activity, known as seizures.
Epilepsy Toronto recently received $116,500 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Resilient Communities Fund to expand and enhance its programs and services.
The announcement was made at a members’ picnic hosted by the organization, which was attended by Mary-Margaret McMahon, the Member of Provincial Parliament for Beaches — East York. McMahon congratulated Epilepsy Toronto on receiving the funding and thanked them for the work they do. “It’s organizations like Epilepsy Toronto and funding sources like the Resilient Communities Fund grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation that contribute to making the lives of people living with epilepsy and their families a little easier,” she said.
Epilepsy Toronto offers a range of programs and services to both adults and youth with epilepsy, specifically helping with employment, life skills, support groups, and providing functional seizure services as well as public education. The funding will go to their Counseling and Recreation Program, which will hire an additional counsellor and consequently open up 70 spaces for those living with epilepsy who are in need of counselling.
“We noticed a greater need for our counselling and recreational programs but with limited staff, we were not able to fully serve the demand,” said Mackenzie Muldoon, the organization’s director of communications. In addition to the new counsellor, Muldoon says the grant will “provide more recreational opportunities for people with epilepsy to connect.”
The grant was provided by the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), a provincial government agency that makes “investments in communities across the province [to] help build healthy and vibrant communities.”
Epilepsy Toronto applied through the Resilient Communities Fund, which is intended to support “community-based organizations that deliver programs and services in Ontario and need funding to recover and build capacity, resilience and sustainability.” The OTF encourages organizations to apply for the grant in order to have sufficient funding to address organizational challenges for medium- to long-term projects. This sounded like a good idea to Epilepsy Toronto, with Muldoon saying it seemed like “a good fit for some of the needs we were seeing amongst our clients.”
“We are committed to helping people impacted by epilepsy live life to their fullest and plan on doing that for decades to come,” she continues.
Grateful for the funding, Muldoon concludes that “Epilepsy Toronto appreciates the partnership of the Ontario Trillium Foundation and their commitment to helping people living with epilepsy in our city.”