One of the first things we did at Radio XL5 when we put it on the air was to make some time available each and every hour for public service announcements (PSA). We felt we needed to use our gift of communication to help make the world a little bit better at the end of our broadcast day. So, we looked around at ourselves and people we knew and then we asked ourselves; what issues did we know about that we felt needed to be shared? One of those was the intimate knowledge we had about epilepsy; we knew someone who has had epilepsy since 1998 and lives with it today.
Sure, you have all heard of epilepsy but do you really know about it? Do you know how it affects people’s personal or professional lives? We wanted to make you aware of it, that people who have it are not contagious or, weird or, mentally ill or, unemployable. And we felt the best way was to run a PSA directing you to the Epilepsy Foundation of America as a great center of information on all things related to this disease. (http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/).
So we cut this PSA way back in early 2012. It was one of the first PSAs on Radio XL5. Take a listen (and remember to back space using your browser to continue reading or play the audio last):
Now for the history and inspiration for this PSA:
Our friend had a seizure back in 1998. It was the kind of seizure that occurred while sleeping. The person whose name we shall refer to as “Riley” still has issues with epilepsy. Riley first had a seizure while on company travel inside an airplane at 30,000 feet somewhere in-route from Tampa to Boston’s Logan Airport. Numerous co-workers who were also on the same plane witnessed Riley’s grand mal seizure. When Riley came out of the seizure there was nothing that Riley noticed odd except the slouched position in the seat and aching all over. Riley had no recollection of the seizure. There was a medical doctor on-board the flight and was taking Riley’s vital signs and it was fortunate that the doctor and his nurse were on-board since he advised the pilot to keep on going to Boston and not divert the flight. The only other odd observation Riley mentioned were the looks of passengers who had an expression of revulsion on their faces.
Riley was let go by that same company, after 20 years, almost a year to the day we started to play that PSA. In the last year or so of Riley’s employment the epilepsy that Riley had thought was under control made a return. Riley left knowing it was a productive year; the tasks Riley were assigned were accomplished successfully, using innovative solutions that garnered further funding. While Riley knew there was something wrong, Riley, had no idea the current anti-seizure meds were not helping as they once did. It took several MRIs and EEGs to determine what was going on. Riley has been looking for a job since April.
Over a year later after producing that PSA and, witnessing the struggles of Riley, we at Radio XL5 still wonder if there is a lingering misunderstanding of epilepsy. We wonder if the “healthy” people, whether family, friends, acquaintances, and/ or coworkers/employers, fully understand what people who suffer from it go through in their daily lives.
We are glad we put that PSA on the air. We will run it until the tape, so to speak, wears out.