SOURCE: Epilepsy Foundation of Northern California

Epilepsy Foundation of Northern California

August 03, 2011 11:00 ET

Northern California Non-Profit Marks Six Years of Providing Children With Epilepsy an Outdoor Adventure in Yosemite

Camp Coelho Begins Amid Foundation's Relocation to San Francisco and Addition of Two New Board Members

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - Aug 3, 2011) - Thanks to a Northern California non-profit and a team of volunteers including medical experts, about 30 kids with epilepsy are heading to Yosemite this weekend to spend five days camping in one of the country's premier national parks.

Continuing its mission to provide an unmatched array of support programs and services to Northern Californians affected by epilepsy, the Epilepsy Foundation of Northern California (EFNC) this weekend kicks off the sixth annual hosting of Camp Coelho, which allows children aged 9-15 with epilepsy from across the state to forget about their condition, develop their social skills, and learn more about themselves and others in a safe environment at Yosemite National Park. Under the supervision of six nurses and neurologists from UCSF and the Children's Hospital of Oakland, Camp Coelho enables children with epilepsy to make new friends and realize that they're not alone living with this potentially life-threatening disorder.

Epilepsy, the world's most common serious brain disorder, is characterized by recurrent seizures caused by spontaneous and abnormal electrical signals in the brain. There are many kinds of seizures and epilepsy syndromes, which affect people in different ways depending on where they are on the epilepsy spectrum. Seizures, ranging from mild to severe, may strike anyone at any time without warning. In fact, one in 10 people will have at least one seizure in their lifetime, and one in 100 people will have recurrent seizures, or epilepsy.

"Due to the misunderstanding and negative stigma still associated with this disease, children suffering from epilepsy unfortunately experience a very challenging childhood on both a physical and social level," said Dr. Joseph Sullivan, UCSF pediatric epileptologist and camp physician volunteer. "Camp Coelho presents an open community for kids and families to come together, share their personal experiences, forget about their disease and just have fun the way that many kids do during the summer."

The camp is just one of many activities and services that the EFNC provides to the 140,000 people living with epilepsy in Northern California. With the recent addition of two new highly-qualified board members from fortune 500 companies -- Gary Huckabay, vice president and manager of Partner Solutions at Wells Fargo Bank, and Adriana Boden, director of Enterprise Mid-Market Sales at Google -- and the relocation of its headquarters from the outskirts of Pleasanton to the heart of downtown San Francisco, the EFNC is well positioned to continue offering diverse programs to help the thousands of patients and families in the region who suffer from epilepsy.

"As we finalize our preparations for this year's Camp Coelho, the EFNC is excited about Gary and Adriana's addition to our leadership team and our move to San Francisco," said EFNC board president Joseph McGrath, a public relations director for Medtronic, Inc. "The EFNC will continue to advocate for patients and families affected by epilepsy through our unique programs and events."

This fall, the EFNC will host its annual Candlelight Gala for Epilepsy Care and Cure on Friday, November 18th, 2011 at the Julia Morgan Ballroom in San Francisco. Tickets can be purchased at www.epilepsynorcal.org; proceeds from the event will help fund the 2012 Camp Coelho and other EFNC activities.

About Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that is characterized by seizures. Seizures, ranging on the spectrum from mild to severe, affect a person's awareness, sensations, behavior and movements to varying degrees. There are approximately 3 million Americans living with epilepsy -- affecting more than Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy combined. With one in a hundred people having epilepsy and approximately 200,000 new cases being diagnosed nationwide each year, chances are you know someone affected by epilepsy. Find out by learning about the condition and discussing it with your friends and families to remove the stigma that surrounds the condition.

About EFNC and Camp Coelho
The Epilepsy Foundation of Northern California leads the fight to stop seizures, find a cure, and overcome the challenges created by epilepsy for the more than 140,000 people living with epilepsy in northern California. Serving 43 counties from the Oregon border down to Fresno County, the EFNC provides various programs, resources and services to support people with epilepsy and their families outside of the doctor's office. Camp Coelho is named in honor of Tony Coelho, a former United States Congressman from Modesto who had epilepsy and the primary author of the Americans with Disabilities Act. For more information, visit www.epilepsynorcal.org.

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