By JEFF ENGELHARDT - jengelhardt@shawmedia.com

YMCA to help families that deal with seizures

DeKALB – The Kishwaukee Family YMCA and Epilepsy Foundation have partnered to help children who suffer from seizures understand their condition and minimize the effects.

The DeKalb Office of the Epilepsy Foundation will present a workshop titled "Seize Control: Take Charge of Your Life" on Sunday for families with children who suffer from epilepsy and experience seizures. The presentations will be from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Kishwaukee Family YMCA, 2500 W. Bethay Road, DeKalb.

Neurologists and experts will discuss how to minimize the effects of seizures; parents also will be able to ask questions and network with others who face the same challenges.

Nancy Proesel, board member of the Epilepsy Foundation's DeKalb affiliate, said many people are not aware of the services available to children who suffer from epilepsy. For example, pediatric neurologists such as Dr. Ammar Katerji provide free services to children once a week at the DeKalb Seizure Clinic.

Katerji will also be on hand for the event.

"One of our big interests for this event, is to talk about memory issues," Proesel said. "Memory is an issue that comes up a lot, and it is interesting to look at how much of that is related to seizures and how much is related to the medication."

The event also provides a safe place for children to interact with each other and talk about the issues they face, Proesel said. While the parents are with the experts, there will be a separate area for children to play or talk and have their questions answered.

Kara Gallagher, director of strategic health initiatives for the YMCA, said the YMCA has not focused much on epilepsy but she was excited for the opportunity. Gallagher said the children may feel more comfortable coming to the YMCA knowing they can interact with others who have the same struggles.

"Having a seizure at school can cause a kid to clam up and not be as social as they want to be," Gallagher said. "We'll have a comfortable environment where kids can talk or play and ask questions and just share what they go through."

The event is free and open to the public. Call 815-756-8554 to register or register in person on the day of the event starting at 1 p.m.

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