March 26, 2024

Backstage at the Egyptian: Ben Slack of the DeKalb Epilepsy Advocacy Network

In this interview our marketing intern, Pamela, engages in a conversation with Ben Slack from the DeKalb Epilepsy Advocacy Network. As they delve into the organization’s mission and services, Ben highlights the crucial support they provide to individuals and families affected by epilepsy nationwide, including veterans grappling with seizures, PTSD, and head trauma. Discover the profound significance of community support and advocacy as Ben shares his personal journey and the importance of raising awareness through events like the upcoming screening of “Under the Lights” right here at the historic Egyptian Theatre.

PAMELA: Could you tell us a little about the DeKalb Epilepsy Advocacy Network and the services
they provide?
BEN: We are a proud member organization of the Epilepsy Alliance of
America. EAA is a nation-wide network of community-based epilepsy organizations
with a mission to provide direct support to people with epilepsy and the people who
care for them.  Members of the EAA have been collectively supporting people with
epilepsy through support services, information, education, advocacy, and public
awareness. As a result, the Alliance provides real epilepsy help to approximately 1
million Americans living with epilepsy throughout the United States.

P: What does it mean for you to help veterans who battle with seizures, PTSD, and head
trauma in the community?
B: As a veteran myself, it means the world to me to help other veterans struggling with seizures due to either head trauma or PTSD especially
those struggling alone in silence. Helping to reduce or eliminate the seizures can
dramatically help improve a veteran’s quality of life and allows them the ability to
address the underlying trauma. It is a passion of mine, and the primary reason for
me working with the Epilepsy Advocacy Network.

P: What does it mean to your organization to have your event at the historic Egyptian
Theatre?
B: We chose to celebrate International Epilepsy Awareness Day, otherwise
known as Purple Day, in DeKalb to spread awareness throughout the community.
What better place to do that than the beautifully historic Egyptian Theatre.

P: What is one thing you hope for the community to understand about the work your
organization does?
B: Epilepsy Advocacy Network would love for the community to
understand that epilepsy is far more common than most people think, with one in 26
people being diagnosed with epilepsy, and one in 10 experiencing a seizure in their
lifetime. Further, the physical, mental, and social effects of epilepsy can have a
drastic impact on the individual, the family, and on the community in which they live.

P: What do you hope the audience takes away from this event?
B: Epilepsy Advocacy Network hopes the audience will walk away with a better understanding of epilepsy,
and for somebody in the crowd, even if it is just one person, to realize they do not need to battle seizures alone.