As the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic set in over the late winter and early spring, the people behind Epilepsy Durham Region (EDR) were forced to recognize that this year would present new challenges for the group that had enjoyed great success over recent years, bringing a specialty clinic to the Durham region to support those with Epilepsy.
“We had to recognize that we couldn’t likely get the same funding this year,” said Cris Douglas, president of EDR. “Instead we put our focus on maintaining client services so that no one slips through the cracks.”
Past fundraising has enabled a clinic to be set up in the region, saving clients from having to head hours away for care. Instead, people can get care sooner, and closer to home, meaning that management of symptoms becomes easier, improving the lives of clients and their loved ones.
One of the major fundraising sources has been the Epic Golf Challenge, held each spring. But with restrictions in place, that had to be delayed to August, and then delayed again. October 8th, players are going to gather on the green at the Royal Ashburn Golf Club along with supporting companies in the Durham Region. It will be a smaller group than usual, and the annual gala has been shelved. The reduced scale of the event means reduced funding from the tournament.
Those attending can still expect to have a lot of fun seeing which team is best on the greens, who has the best pants, and most importantly, how much money can be raised to support Epilepsy Durham Region.
“Every organization has faced challenges with the pandemic,” said Douglas. “People and companies haven’t been able to give in the same way as in the past.”
The EDR team anticipated this reality would mean that fundraising would net half of the typical support that has been raised in recent years. Despite the setbacks, Douglas and the rest of the team at EDR are motivated by the organization’s mission.
“When we get in troubled times, in a time of need and stress, I could never step away,” said Douglas. “I roll up my shirt sleeves and dig in harder.”
While Douglas and the board continue to work to generate funds, those on staff are working hard to support clients through telephone and videocall appointments where possible to reduce the number of people that need to meet in person. The clinic is also continuing to learn how to better care for those with epilepsy, joining in on the recent three-day North American Virtual Epilepsy Meeting in late September to learn how other clinics and advocacy groups are working towards new developments in how epilepsy is treated.
There are many other ways to support EDR, including buying tickets for monthly 50/50 draws to support Epilepsy Ontario, and a wide variety of items for sale in the EDR gift shop. Of course, Epilepsy Durham also welcomes donations through their website. Thanks to community support and the hard work of volunteers and staff, Epilepsy Durham Region continues to do vital work in improving the lives of those living with epilepsy.