LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -Close to 40,000 Oklahoman's are living with epilepsy, a neurological disorder that causes nerve cell activity in the brain to become disrupted resulting in seizures.
Epilepsy has been around for thousands of years and the Epilepsy Association of Oklahoma has been helping people across the state with the disorder since 1978.
"Epilepsy is the number one discriminated disease. We are still trying to fight the battle of the stigma that is attached to it and trying to get people the proper care and the care that they need, whether it's doctors, support through school or anything," said Jenniafer Walters, the Epilepsy Association of Oklahoma's executive director.
Walters says people with epilepsy are just normal people who just want to have jobs and go to school like everyone else, but a lot times they aren't given the opportunity.
"We get a lot of bullying. Epilepsy has the third highest rate of suicide between preteen and 30-year-olds because they don't feel like they fit in, they get teased, they get bullied, whether it's in school or on social media," Walters said.
Walters says there is a support group that meets in southwest Oklahoma to educate and provide information to people living with epilepsy and their families.
"We encourage them and educate them on keeping a journal, how important that is when they go to their doctor's, it can kind of help map out what their trigger points are," Walters said.
Most importantly, Walters says coming to the support group meetings helps them see that there are other people going through the exact thing as them.
"I have a daughter who is 24 years old and she has epilepsy. She has had it her whole life, so that's why I'm involved and in that way I can share stories and share information and just let people know they aren't alone in this and let's fight the battle and raise awareness," Walters said.
To get more information on epilepsy, visit okepilepsy.org. The Lawton Epilepsy Support Group Meeting will be held on Monday, March 28, at 5:30 p.m. in the Oakwood Conference Center at Comanche County Memorial Hospital.
In other health news, March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month and the Cancer Centers of Southwest Oklahoma in Lawton, Duncan and Altus are offering free colon cancer screening kits through the end of the month. Visit any of the three locations to pick yours up or inquire about all of your screening options.