Celebrating Success Stories - Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan
May 13, 2013
The Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan first met Cassandra Emerson through the Studio E Art Therapy program, during which her frustration with epilepsy, along with her boundless creativity, became apparent to everyone she met. She also attended our Wellness & Epilepsy Conference and was one of the first enrollees in our six-month PROGRESS Toward Wellness self-management program.
After participating in this program, Cassandra reported improvements in quality of life, social and emotional well-being, memory, stress, physical symptoms, body mass index, confidence, knowledge, and self-management skills.
"You didn't tell me what to do, but helped me think through it on my own to figure out what to do next," said Cassandra when asked about the impact of the program. "I've become more accepting of living with epilepsy and more outspoken about living with epilepsy, letting other people know there is hope. It made me want to be a better advocate for people living with epilepsy, especially minorities with epilepsy. I know I wouldn't have set these types of goals without the coaching calls. I would have still felt depressed about my memory, about my weight, instead of doing something about it."
One of the biggest changes was getting her back on a stage performing. She had stopped doing open mics because of feeling embarrassed about her memory and out of fear of having a seizure. At our first Celebrating Abilities event, she inspired the audience with two poems and an original song called "Don't Count Me Out." Cassandra is a true success story and a strong advocate for people with epilepsy.
Submitted by Russell A. Derry, MPH, director of education at the Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan