Thriving with Epilepsy: Regional Coordinators
The Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota has been serving the 60,000 people living with seizures in our community for over 60 years. Educating, connecting and empowering people affected by seizures, EFMN’s programs and services reach areas outside of the Twin Cities Metro area including the communities of Duluth, Fargo, Rochester, and St. Cloud.
Photos by Tony Nelson
Every day, our Regional Coordinators work to fulfill EFMN’s vision – a world where people living with seizures realize their full potential. We asked them to share a story that illustrates how their work impacts those living with epilepsy in our communities every day:
Duluth – Lisa Peterson
“I love that my job involves educating teachers, school staff, and nurses about our Seizure Smart Schools program. A few years ago, after connecting with a principal, I gave a SSS training to a local elementary school. The next week, the teachers and staff were able to recognize and respond correctly to a student having absence seizures which are often confused with daydreaming. Their responsiveness helped lead to his diagnosis. The following week, I did classroom trainings for all sections of third grade and was able to connect that specific family with other EFMN programs and events.”
Fargo- Janice Tweet
“Through each Connect Group, I have learned a great deal about epilepsy and seizures and how individuals are affected. However, the most impactful moments to me are those when a person says ‘I know exactly what you mean. I didn’t know anyone else felt that way.’ Epilepsy can be isolating, but these groups provide an important opportunity for people to feel connected, and I am continually grateful to those who are willing to share their journeys.”
Rochester – Emily Gomez
“Since joining the staff of EFMN in April, I constantly look for opportunities to share the knowledge I have gained, support families in my region and get to know them and the challenges they face. At a recent Adult Connect Group, I met a parent of a ten-year-old with epilepsy. This parent and his wife have been involved with the Foundation for quite some time, however it was this father's first time attending a Connect Group. Although they had felt supported in the past, they had begun to experience new challenges as their child grows older and is more involved in the community and school. Through conversation, we were able to identify many unmet needs and connect them to other resources and information provided by EFMN.”
St. Cloud – Lori Braegelmann
“One of my dedicated volunteers, educators and connect group facilitator had been participating in the Rise Above Seizures Walk since 2011. After passing away in 2013 due to cancer, her Rise Above Seizures Walk team still lives on. Each year, they return to the Walk to honor their loved one and support EFMN’s impactful programs and services. Through smiles and tears, we grieve together, but more importantly celebrate together as we remember her special gifts and impact.”
Near or far, you are not alone – we’re here to help!
Stay connected with the dedicated staff members in your community who help people rise above seizures every day: