Community epilepsy services in Ottawa and the surrounding regions have undergone numerous changes and names over the years, but a common thread throughout our history is the dedication of the staff and volunteers to meeting the needs of people living with epilepsy in our community.
In 1997, then President Ross Jenkins wrote a history of the first 20 years of community epilepsy services in the National Capital Region (1977-1997). You can read his entire history or read the summary below:
1977-1980 – The Epileptic Association of Ottawa
Paul and Judy Gervais founded The Epilepsy Association of Ottawa and were assisted by Gill Casey and Lawrence Greenspawn. The association facilitated support group meetings, phone support, and referrals for people with epilepsy.
1980-1985 – Epilepsy Association – National Capital Region
The association expanded its reach beyond the city of Ottawa in response to the need for services beyond city limits. Over this period, the focus shifted to the social needs of the members.
1985-1989 – Epilepsy Ottawa
Epilepsy Ottawa began to work within the guidelines of Epilepsy Ontario, expanding its mandate to public education and awareness, as well as providing information to those with epilepsy and helping them live productive and fulfilling lives.
1989-2012 – Epilepsy Ottawa-Carleton
The agency officially incorporated in 1989 as Epilepsy Ottawa-Carleton and soon moved into an office on Metcalfe Street in Ottawa. The agency and its staff expanded and contracted several times over the next 25 years based on fluctuating financial resources. It eventually moved its office to The Bronson Centre, the agency’s current home at 211 Bronson Avenue.
2012-2015 – Epilepsy Ottawa Épilepsie
As a key capacity building grant concluded, the Board of Directors decided to make the organization to a volunteer-run agency. Volunteer Board Members took active roles in fundraising, providing services, and coordinating volunteers to provide support and public education services. These hard working, dedicated volunteers maintained a social group, a parent-to-parent support group, Seizure Smart presentations, awareness raising events, and an educational speakers series.
2015-present – Epilepsy Ottawa
In 2015, the Board of Directors searched for a new Director who could work with the Board to take the agency to a new level of sustainability and community value. Since hiring Nikki Porter, Epilepsy Ottawa has re-established the fading volunteer program, revitalized the social group, and relaunched the guest speaker series. The agency is developing partnerships with community groups, local neurologists, and the epilepsy programs at CHEO and The Ottawa Hospital. Our goal is to become an integrated part of the continuum of care for people with epilepsy in our region.