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Group hopes to grow success

Annual Saratoga Stroll supports the Epilepsy Foundation

Organizers of the Saratoga Stroll for Epilepsy are hoping for 800 or more walkers this year. Submitted photo.

Organizers of the Saratoga Stroll for Epilepsy are hoping for 800 or more walkers this year. Submitted photo.

— “It’s like a weight has been lifted, and that we’re not doing(this) alone,” said Furlong. “We have a network of people who know about what to do.”

Ian Boegel is 8 and lives in Delmar, not far from the Furlongs. He was three when he was diagnosed with epilepsy and his family has also been involved with the foundation. The Boegels met the Furlongs through the foundation and the boys have become friends.

“They’re partners with all of our struggles,” said Michelle Boegel, Ian’s mother and co-chairwoman of the stroll along with Furlong. “When there’s news with Ian I tell my husband, then my parents, then Tami and Lori Kidd, our service coordinator. … We couldn’t have done (anything) without them.”

Epilepsy commonly produces seizures and can affect people in a variety of other ways. Demographically, the disease isn’t particular and affects a wide range of people. Worldwide, approximately 50 million people are afflicted, or about 2 percent of the population.

“Epilepsy can affect anyone at any age at any time. It’s more prevalent in the young and the elderly but some people are born with a seizure disorder, others may have a traumatic brain injury or accident and may develop epilepsy because of that,” Kaczynksi said.

Services provided by the foundation include counseling, referrals and support groups. It also helps educate communities by giving first aid training and education at schools, for instance.

“We go into the schools to educate the students, teachers and school nurses about epilepsy and what to do in case someone has a seizure. A lot of our parents will ask us if their child has epilepsy and they have a new teacher … to come in and do training,” said Kaczynski.

Pre-registration is preferred for the stroll, though registration is available starting at 10:30 a.m. on the day of the event. The walk steps off at noon.

For more information on epilepsy and the foundation, visit www.epilepsyfoundation.org/efneny.

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