There is much to be done to improve the lives of people with epilepsy particularly those with uncontrolled seizures.
On March 31, 2009, for the occasion of the Finale Celebration of March Epilepsy Awareness Month, Margaret Maye, initiated, established and organized along with Epilepsy Ontario an Epilepsy Information Session for Members of the Provincial Parliament of Ontario.
This Queen's Park event was very important and helpful in the promotion of epilepsy matters.
Our initiative brought together for the first time ever - 15 different epilepsy agencies across the province, medical professionals specializing in epilepsy care, leading epilepsy researchers and community organizations and united them for epilepsy cause to speak about epilepsy matters and advocate on behalf of people affected by epilepsy.
During EIS 2009, in attendance were clinicians and specialists in the field of the treatment of epilepsy, representatives from research institutions, and representatives of regional organizations. They were available all day to answer questions, and they held lengthy discussions with MPPs and other attendees who also received brochures and pages of information. This Epilepsy Information Session focused on three areas: awareness, research and care. Tables manned with hosts and information materials were grouped according to these themes.
Many politicians responded positively to our invitation. We had a great outcome that day with twenty MPPs attending, including 3 Ministers, 10 Parliamentary Assistants and ministry staff of different politicians. A number of promising contacts were initiated. We brought to their attention different epilepsy matters, with emphasis on three different areas: awareness, research and improvement of specialized care for those with epilepsy.
Laurel Broten MPP for Etobicoke-Lakeshore addressed the house with a brief summary about epilepsy and those that it effects, and she encouraged members of the House to take the time to learn more about epilepsy. During her address all the names of the participating organizations were mentioned and she asked for and received unanimous consent for members of the Legislature to wear a lavender ribbon in recognition of Epilepsy Awareness Month.
Next Epilepsy Informative Sessions at Queen's Park in Toronto and Parliament Hill in Ottawa are planned.
The following politicians participated in the Epilepsy Information Session 2009:
|Hon Christopher Bentley||MPP (London West) Commissioner||Board of Internal Economy||Liberal|
|Hon David Caplan||MPP (Don Valley East)||Minister of Health and Long Term Care||Liberal|
|Hon John Wilkinson||MPP (Perth - Wellington)||Minister of Research and Innovation||Liberal|
|Laura Albanese||MPP (York South - Weston)||Liberal|
|Robert Bailey||MPP (Sarnia - Lambton)||Conservative|
|Laurel C. Broten||MPP (Etobicoke - Lakeshore)||Liberal - Sponsor of the event|
|Michael A. Brown||MPP (Algoma - Manitoulin)||Liberal|
|Kim Craitor||MPP (Niagara Falls)||Liberal|
|Bruce Crozier||MPP (Essex)||Liberal|
|Darcie Renaud||Executive Assistant office|
|Cheri DiNovo||MPP (Parkdale - High Park)||NDP|
|Garfield Dunlop||MPP (Simcoe North)||Conservative|
|France Gelinas||MPP (Nickel Belt)||NDP|
|Linda Jeffrey||MPP (Brampton - Springdale)||Liberal|
|Frank Klees||MPP (Newmarket - Aurora)||Conservative|
|Jean-Marc Lalonde||MPP (Glengarry - Prescott - Russell)||Liberal|
|Jeff Leal||MPP (Peterborough)||Liberal|
|Dave Levac||MPP (Brant)||Liberal|
|Rosario Marchese||MPP (Trinity - Spadina)||NDP|
|Paul Miller||MPP (Hamilton East - Stoney Creek)||NDP|
|Bill Murdoch||MPP (Bruce - Grey - Owen Sound)||Independent|
|John O'Toole||MPP (Durham)||Conservative|
|Khalil Ramal||MPP (London - Fanshawe)||Liberal|
|Maria Van Bommel||MPP (Lambton - Kent - Middlesex)||Liberal|
|Jesse Flis||Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians||Liberal|
Among the experts and organizations were present:
|Cecil Hahn||Neurologist||Hospital for Sick Children|
|Richard Wennberg||Neurologist||President of The Canadian League Against Epilepsy, Toronto Western Hospital|
|McIntyre Burnham||Pharmacologist||Faculty of Medicine, U of T, Director of the University of Toronto Epilepsy Research Program, UTERP|
|Mary Pat Mc Andrews||Neuropsychologist||Toronto Western Hospital|
|Kathryn Hum and Melanie Jeffrey||U of T - (SACEC) Society for the Advancement of Comprehensive Epilepsy Care|
|Tamzin Jeffs||Co-founder SUDEP Aware|
|Gula Aitkulova||Epilepsy Ontario|
|Dianne McKenzie||Executive Director||Epilepsy Durham, Canadian Epilepsy Alliance|
|Geof Bobb||Executive Director||Epilepsy Toronto|
|Paul Raymond||Executive Director||Epilepsy, York Region|
|Margaret Maye, Gary Neumann, Thomas Drag||Epilepsy Activists||Epilepsy Cure Initiative|
Several invited honoured guests were present and among them:
|Jan Cytowski||The President of the Canadian Polish Congress Toronto District|
|Marek Ciesielczuk||The Consul General of the Republic of Poland|
As well as other representatives of several other organizations and the media.