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March 15, 2004
For immediate release

Minister Urges Islanders to Learn More About Epilepsy

Health and Social Services

March is National Epilepsy Awareness Month, and Health and Social Services Minister Chester Gillan would like all Islanders to take this opportunity to gain a better understanding of the condition.

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that affects more than 300,000 Canadians, representing about one per cent of the total population. In Canada, an average of 14,000 people are diagnosed annually, and in more than 75 per cent of the cases the cause is not know.

Epilepsy Canada’s Island spokesperson Dorothy Griffin-Farish says getting a handle on the actual number of people suffering from epilepsy is difficult, because many people conceal their condition from anyone outside of their immediate families for fear of prejudice and discrimination.

“Many people with epilepsy still feel that there is some stigma attached to their disorder so they think that, if an employer knows they have epilepsy, their jobs will be taken away from them. This is especially worrying when jobs are scarce. Consequently, quite a few people with epilepsy prefer to keep their condition secret,” Griffin-Farish says.

The prejudicial attitude of some employers is extremely unfortunate, Minister Gillan says. “According to Epilepsy Canada’s research, people with epilepsy tend to be more conscientious than others, they are more careful, have fewer accidents in the workplace, miss fewer work days, and show greater loyalty to their employers.”

Minister Gillan noted, “People with epilepsy have the same range of intellectual capabilities as the rest of us. We should never assume that, because an individual has epilepsy, they are not capable of contributing to society in meaningful ways. That is a terrible injustice to the individual, and a loss to society.”

To learn more about Epilepsy Canada, visit the website at To find out about Epilepsy PEI, contact Dorothy Griffin-Farish at (902) 854 2063 or Paula Lenentine at (902) 892-3274.

Media Contact: Sara Underwood
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