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November 2022: Epilepsy Awareness Month

WHEREAS, Epilepsy Awareness Month is a nationwide effort by the Epilepsy Foundation and the Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan to raise awareness about and change the conversation around the epilepsies, seizures, and side effects, as well as to improve and save lives through care, advocacy, research and new therapies, and public health and education; and,

WHEREAS, epilepsy is a brain disorder characterized by recurrent and unprovoked seizures that can affect anyone, at any age, any time; and,

WHEREAS, epilepsy is a spectrum disorder comprised of many diagnoses and experiences and includes a wide range of seizure types, comorbidities, control, severity, and outcomes varying from person-to-person; and,

WHEREAS, epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder. Approximately 3.4 million people in the U.S. including 108,900 in Michigan live with active epilepsy; and,

WHEREAS, approximately 400,000 Hispanic Americans and 578,000 black, non-Hispanic Americans live with epilepsy in the U.S.; and,

WHEREAS, an increasing number of people are diagnosed with rare epilepsies which are largely complex, severe, chronic, and even life-threatening, and collectively rare epilepsies account for a growing percentage of the epilepsy population; and,

WHEREAS, people with epilepsy need access to affordable, comprehensive, physician-directed and person-centered healthcare, and effective treatments decrease the likelihood of breakthrough seizures and related complications including injury, disability or even Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP); and,

WHEREAS, while many treatments are approved to treat seizures, at least 30% of people with epilepsy still live with uncontrolled seizures, and the epilepsy-related medical costs associated with uncontrolled epilepsy are significantly higher than those of controlled epilepsy; and,

WHEREAS, 21% of people with epilepsy have reported not being able to afford their prescription medication(s) in the last year; and,

WHEREAS, direct healthcare spending attributable to epilepsy annually is approximately $28 billion, and average annual spending for persons with epilepsy is more than $15,000; and,

WHEREAS, 470,000 children under 14 live with epilepsy in the U.S., including 13,600 children in Michigan, and students with epilepsy aged 6 – 17 years old have missed 11 or more days of school the past year on average and 336,000 kids have at least one seizure annually; and,

WHEREAS, protections exist in the Americans with Disabilities Act and related civil rights laws, but people with epilepsy still encounter discrimination in areas including employment, education and housing; and,

WHEREAS, we must increase public knowledge about the epilepsies and seizure first aid to change the way people think about the epilepsies and seizures because 25% of the general public say they would be nervous around a person with epilepsy;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim November 2022 as Epilepsy Awareness Month in Michigan to encourage Michigan residents to come together to overcome the challenges of living with the epilepsies and accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives.