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And so we Face the Beginning of a New Decade…


merry christmas1

Hello everyone,


At the end of each year I, as I’m sure many of you do, take a some time throughout this hectic Holiday Season and reflect, “What have I done? Have I done enough?” Those a very big questions to ask. I know that we all try  hard to make a positive impact for ourselves and our families.  I’ve come to realize that by the mere fact that we take the time to ask those questions, we are making an impact.


Chelsea and I have had a whirlwind of a year; we celebrated the first anniversary of our Clinic to Community Epilepsy Clinic, with two Epileptologists accepting referrals from our agency.  To see this initiative come to fruition is a testament to the many donors investing in our vision and standing alongside us to make sure it is and continues to be a success.


Just last week, after a year long campaign, we donated 1900 Epilepsy Durham Region Lora the Lavender Labrador Comfort Charity Dogs to First Responders in our community.  It is much more than offering a plush toy to First Responders, it provided Chelsea and I an opportunity to connect personally with front-line staff who often meet our clients before we do.  We explained the challenges of what living with epilepsy could mean and helped them to understand what the appropriate response protocol could look like and informed them about our new Epilepsy Clinic and than help is near by.


As we welcome the new decade, we look forward to what lies ahead for ourselves, Epilepsy Durham Region and many of you.  We are stronger as an agency due to the kindness of many – our  Volunteers, Ambassadors, Donors and You, people living with Epilepsy. Please, connect with us and know that you are not alone on this journey. 


Chelsea and I send you the warmest thoughts and best wishes for a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.  May peace, and prosperity follow you always.




Dianne McKenzie

CEO Epilepsy Durham Region


The holiday season is meant to be very joyful and stress-free; however, it normally ends up being the opposite. Constant cleaning for guests, shopping for gifts and going to holiday parties can cause one to feel overwhelmed and worried. This time of year can also bring memories of lost family members which can manifest into sadness or depression.

To begin, it is important to realize that being highly stressed is not good for anyone, particularly someone with epilepsy. This is because stress can be a trigger for someone with this neurological disease, and can cause an increase of seizure activity. Evidently, not everyone with epilepsy has seizures triggered by stress; though, it is important to try and avoid stress when possible to ensure better physical health.

A great way to reduce stress around the time of the holidays is to learn to manage your time. This means planning what you are going to do for the next couple days, or weeks. This will ensure that you have enough time to complete your required tasks, and also have time for yourself. To do this, you can buy an agenda or make notes in your phone, which means that there is always a place to check for your daily activities.

Another great method to reducing stress is sleep. Making sure that you are getting an adequate amount of sleep each night, will help you in ensuring that you feel refreshed for the next day.

Next, taking time to exercise is also a great way to reduce stress. This is because it gives you time to yourself, where you are able to focus on your body. Exercise can be used as a means to distract yourself from all your worries, or as a time to achieve personal fitness goals.

Lastly, it is important to be aware of your alcohol consumption during the holiday season. Alcohol is a large trigger for seizures, on top of being stressed. In addition, drinking too muchChristmas1 can also be the cause of depression. Therefore, if you decide to drink alcoholic beverages, you should be aware of the potential consequences. 

Ultimately, the holiday season should be a time to enjoy with your friends and family. Thus, if you implement the tips above, you may be able to have a stress-free holiday.

Stay warm!





It's hard to believe we are sitting down to write a wrap up for 2015. It seems like a daunting task to properly encompass all of the notable moments of the past year, one in which we are not really sure where to begin.


With the Epic Climb of the Grand Canyon behind us in 2014, Epilepsy Durham Region was determined to keep the momentum moving in to 2015, and hit the ground running. 2015 would be a year of transformation, not just for our organization, but also for Epilepsy itself.

As 2017 draws to a close, I would like to extend best wishes for the holiday season. I hope that for all of you, it is a time for relaxing with family and friends.

Epilepsy Durham Region had the good fortune to celebrate its 30th anniversary through 2017, a milestone celebrated throughout the year with many friends. Much of our year has been focused on ensuring the epilepsy care can be achieved in Durham Region. With good planning and team work from many in our community we have been successful in establishing partnerships with specialists to ensure you can receive appropriate care. I am extremely proud of and grateful for the hard work and commitment our community has expressed to help Chelsea and I fulfill our dedication to this initiative.

FjiAs March break gets closer and closer, I subsequently find myself experiencing correlative bouts of jealousy when I tap in to social media and see plans of vacations to far-away lands and dream destinations. It's no secret to most that I spend my winters longing for warmer temperatures and the touch of beach sand on my feet (some days I follow the sun around my office, and I keep my Birkenstocks in the back seat of my car... just in case), and travel has always been something I have had an affinity for. But living with epilepsy makes for an added twist when you want to pack up all of your things and get away for a while.

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