Chelsea and I are reaching out to you to wish you a wonderful holiday weekend, a little encouragement and some thoughts about moving forward together. We are facing a truly unprecedented situation which is affecting all of our families, our business, our communities and our way of life.
First and foremost, our hearts go out to anyone who's been impacted by the virus, either directly or indirectly. Our thoughts are especially with those who are sick, to whom we extend our heartfelt wishes for a full recovery. We are truly inspired by the selfless healthcare workers, first responders, and our essential workers who are on the front lines working tirelessly to care for people in need.
I will confess that it has been a challenge making adjustments to our new lifestyle as I'm sure it has been for you and your family; we continue to adjust our programs and services and creating new ways on how we can best help. We are working in collaboration with Community Epilepsy Agencies throughout Ontario to stay connected with you. Our Facebook Live chat with Dr. Lewis last week witness more than 2000 attendees. We will continue to host as many of these information sessions for you. If you have suggestions for topics, please let us know and we will try accommodate. We can appreciate the high level of anxiety many of you have shared with us, we completely understand - for this, we want to direct you to the Facebook Live Webinar today at 2:00 pm featuring Toronto Western Hospital Neuropsychologist, Dr. Gold. He will be discussing best ways to manage anxiety during COVID-19 and there is an opportunity for you to ask your questions live. Visit Epilepsy Toronto's Facebook page (video tab) at 2:00 pm to tune in live: https://www.facebook.com/epilepsytoronto/live
I would also like to encourage you to reach out to friends and family; loneliness and isolation add to the stress of our daily lives. I am personally trying to call older aunts, uncles and cousins. I was so moved to hear the sheer joy in their voices when they received the call. I'm guilty of being self-centred in the old days, but have found that their joy has added a new quality of happiness for me. I think we all feel better when we care for each other and use an abundance of kindness. I'm hosting a virtual picnic this weekend with my children and grandchildren, complete with a checkered blanket in our living room, with everyone adding to the "pot luck" meal. It's the new Easter Bunny celebration, and gives us all something to look forward to. We invite you to please share your plans to stay connected!
As we go forward, please know that we always value your questions, ideas and feedback. We are learning through this process together.
On behalf of Epilepsy Durham Region, Chelsea and I we wish you a peaceful weekend.
March 20th, 2020
This is a message to you, those living with epilepsy, the moms and dads and family members helping you, our volunteers, ambassadors and donors;
Epilepsy Durham Region, Chelsea, our Board of Directors and I are speaking to you while we are all trying to cope through extraordinary times. This new normal sure doesn’t feel very normal, so we wanted to check in with you about what’s going on here.
The growing COVID-19 emergency is affecting all of our lives, and we want to first and foremost express our concern and support for all of you as we deal with this crisis. Like all of you, we are watching this pandemic unfold. We are unsure on the best way to proceed.
Drastic global measures to keep populations apart and slow the spread of the coronavirus could remain in place for months. That’s posing the difficult question of how long hundreds of millions of us can keep this herculean effort going.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of staying connected and supporting one another around us in need. I for one, very much miss my children, grandchildren, my parents and friends. I can imagine you are feeling the same way. We are a community, and social distancing doesn’t mean we have to brave this by ourselves, or that we can’t still look after each other. Try to remember we are here to help – you are not alone in this.
One of the few ways we are remaining in touch with all of you, is through our social media platforms; we are also checking emails and phone messages several times a day. We are working with local foundations, as well as national and provincial government agencies to help us to understand how we can continue for any length of time and still offer our services. Many charities are struggling with the fact of how to manage and help their staff.
I know you will understand with all of the cancellations of revenue generating events, particularly the cancellation of our Epilepsy Awareness month celebrations, has significantly impacted our fundraising capacity. We are unsure on the best way to proceed in these uncertain times. As I write this letter to you I have just answered a distressing phone call from a young man, who asks, “Can Epilepsy Durham Region help to pay for my medication?” I could hear the desperation in his voice. We will try to do what we can, but it will be challenging for us.
None of us knows what the precise secret is to sustaining our ability to help and maintain a state of high vigilance, but I’m going to reach out to you and ask that you consider helping us. Since we raise all of our core funding ourselves, cancelling our events is having devastating impacts on our ability to help so many. It you can, please consider making a donation online here.
The donations that you make are what make our vital work possible.
These are unprecedented times, but we will get through them together just as we have always worked to safeguard the respect and dignity we all deserve. Stay safe and stay strong. I can’t wait to see you soon.