Cindy Nelson and Dr. Jeff Britton care for epilepsy patients in Rochester, MN. They have both cared for patients with very severe epilepsy cases, working hard each and every day to try and control seizures for their patients.
The many years of caring for and seeing the difficulties epilepsy patients face inspires these caregivers to show their support and solidarity. There is something special about joining the epilepsy community and participating in the EFMN Walks in Rochester. As Dr. Britton puts it, “We get the opportunity to be with them in a different way than the usual appointments. We get to show up in a more casual, person-to-person setting.”
The walks reveal a special connection between the caregivers and the epilepsy patients that they describe as a common humanity. The power of creating this connection proves the importance of what Dr. Britton and Cindy do every day.
Dr. Britton’s favorite moments from the walks all involve when he gets to see a patient of his own on the walk. The same commitment that Dr. Britton and his colleagues show for individual patients is evident in the EFMN walks. Dr. Britton has this to say about Cindy, “Cindy is key in coordinating the team and we have been very successful in raising funds through our team every year. It really is a testament to Cindy’s dedication.”
When Dr. Britton, Cindy, and other caregivers from Rochester walk, they see it as a good way to help reduce stigma. “I can’t blame people for being that way,” Dr. Britton says about the patients who are hesitant to share about their condition. He sees firsthand the struggles they all go through as they try to cope with epilepsy. Even though he doesn’t struggle with epilepsy himself, epilepsy is a big part of his and Cindy’s everyday lives and walking shows his solidarity with his community.
Going to the walks gives Dr. Britton a chance to spend time with his patients in the real world, acting as a normal, everyday human instead of a doctor accompanied by the medical devices of the exam room. When his patients walk beside him and recognize, “‘I am a person just like you and I happen to have this seizure tendency but it will not stop me from living my life.’”
This year, Cindy and the caregivers in Rochester will again raise valuable funds to support the cause. At the clinic, the roles of doctor and patient are formal, but at the walk, they are people walking in solidarity with other people.