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Shining a Light on the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota, a 2019 Thursdays Downtown Partner

Without support from community-minded partners like the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota, Thursdays Downtown would not be as successful as it is! The Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA) is appreciative of its partnership and wants to shine the spotlight on them! Serving all of Minnesota and eastern North Dakota, the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota leads the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives. Let's learn a little more about the organization from Nick Baker, the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota's marketing and communications coordinator!

Katie: Thanks for joining me, Nick, and sharing more about the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota! Tell us about the organization and how long it’s been a part of the Rochester community.

Nick: The Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota offers information and support to people affected by epilepsy. The inaugural Rise Above Seizures Walk, then called the Stroll for Epilepsy, took place in Rochester in 1999. Since then, the walk has grown and expanded to five communities across Minnesota and eastern North Dakota. Currently, we have a dedicated southern Minnesota staff member located in Rochester who organizes connect groups, social events, and seizure first aid trainings for schools, workplaces, and community groups at no cost.

Katie: Why is the Epilepsy Foundation involved in community events?

Nick: One in 26 people will be diagnosed with epilepsy in their lifetime, and one in 10 will have a seizure. Helping people in the community understand that someone they may know could be affected by epilepsy and how to appropriately respond to someone having a seizure is important to keep others safe. We also understand the importance of connection and support for people with seizures and being involved in these type of community events helps bring those who need support together.

Katie: Why does the organization partner with the RDA for Thursdays Downtown?

Nick: Thursdays Downtown is a great way to help raise awareness of epilepsy and connect with the community we’re looking to serve. Although we provide services to people directly affected by seizures, connecting with the larger Rochester community is important to raise awareness and reduce the stigma associated with epilepsy.

Katie: What other upcoming community events are on your calendar?

Nick: Our largest community event is the Rise Above Seizures Walk taking place on Thursday, August 1, 2019. Last year, 250 people came together and joined us for the Rochester walk to raise epilepsy awareness, to support programs and services for people with seizures and, most importantly, to have fun. This free event is open to all, and you can easily create your own walk team or join as an individual walker at

Katie: I will admit I don't know that much about epilepsy. Tell us more about it: who does it mainly affect and what are its symptoms?

Nick: Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological condition and is typically diagnosed when someone has two or more unprovoked seizures. One in 26 people will develop epilepsy in their lifetime, and there are currently 3.4 million people with epilepsy in the U.S. With more than 40 types of seizures epilepsy affects everyone differently, and roughly two-thirds of people can control their seizures with the help of medication. The cause of someone’s epilepsy is unknown in 70 percent of cases.

To learn more about the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota, please visit its website.