In 2007, Larry Kading, became a volunteer for the San Diego Epilepsy Foundation. “At first it was because our family was personally being affected by Epilepsy. As we continued to work with the organization we better understood the good it was doing for a disease that, still today, has its own stigma around it that keeps it ‘in the shadows’ so to speak.” said Larry.
The many family help sessions really had an impact on Larry and his family. They attended educational weekends like ‘The Day of Hope’. “During this time we found a much needed support group of families, all going through a similar experience, and battling the feeling of being alone when it came to dealing with a disease no one wished to talk about.” Larry explains, “It wasn’t so much who influenced my decision as much as understanding first-hand the exponential impact that an organization like The Epilepsy Foundation had on the lives of so many.”
If people knew the facts, Larry is sure, more money and research would be committed to finding a cure:
- 1 in 26 Americans will develop epilepsy in their lifetime.
- An estimated 3 million Americans and 65 million people worldwide currently live with epilepsy.
- Each year at least 200,000 people are diagnosed with epilepsy.
- Epilepsy affects more people than multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s combined – yet receives fewer federal dollars per patient than each of these.
- Possibly what may advance the research in this area, will be a direct result of the recent wars in the Middle East. Over 2.2 million troops have served in the current Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts; it is estimated that 440,000 of these soldiers will experience traumatic brain injury (TBI) and more than 100,000 of these soldiers are expected to develop post-traumatic epilepsy (PTE).
Historically, epilepsy has been neglected, feared, and misunderstood. A veil of secrecy surrounding the disease has resulted in myths, superstitions, and a general lack of knowledge. This has impeded scientific progress toward finding answers to one of the oldest-known and most prevalent neurological diseases, leaving treatment and research efforts in the dark ages.
“We all make decisions every day to where we spend our time; and where we spend our money. It could be sports, movies, or eating out. So as we do things that in the end usually satisfy a certain level of personal happiness, or satisfaction.” says Larry. “So, when it comes to donating or volunteering for groups like the Epilepsy Foundation, my personal belief is we will not ever truly make any significant advancement in this area until we better educate the public, it is not something to be feared or hidden out of sight.”
Along the way Larry and his family have met some amazing people especially the neurologists. Larry explains, “Many that we have met followed this career due to a family member having Epilepsy. Their support is not just a result of their education, but of a personal life event, which drives them ever forward in finding a solution, but also understanding that today many times the solution is just an understanding voice, and message of future hope.”
Many of the patients are children, who can experience up to hundreds of seizures a day. The impact on the developing brain ranges from learning disabilities to retardation, and in a disturbingly large number of patients, even death. “This is wrong, and needs to change and if by some small part I can make this happen, then the effort is worth it.” Larry said.
Larry’s personal philosophy about supporting this charity like any other is, “if you believe in what a charity is doing, your heart and efforts will follow. Global charities have the people, administrative support and recognition that allows them to bring in the huge funding and volunteers much easier than the more local groups. Local foundations like the San Diego Epilepsy foundation barely have enough to cover administrative and basic support so it’s even more important to focus support and donations to the more local foundations.”
Every spring Larry and his family lace up their shoes for Sharons Ride.Run.Walk. This is one of the largest events for the organization, bringing many families together that all are affected by Epilepsy and ultimately helping to raise a large amount of funds for supporting the organizations efforts for the year.
“We dedicated our time to making sure we help them make this event as successful as possible.” commented Larry. “You have to understand that unlike those diseases that have usually an understanding of the ‘why’ it happens, and a successful cure to fix it, the fact is that over 2/3 of the people with Epilepsy will never know what is causing it. And if you can’t figure out the cause, then how do you identify the cure. Most Epilepsy is focused on controlling it, never a clear path to a guaranteed cure.”
Each year, the Kadings have been able to increase their efforts to provide more donations to the foundation. According to Larry, “most of this I can relate directly back to some of the same techniques and marketing efforts that I have learned while working at Changepoint. It’s all about getting the word out, and of course keeping focus on the end goal, dedicating your efforts to this goal, and always moving forward as though it has already been achieved. Think Big, Act Bold. Challenge the Status Quo.”
Larry feels that supporting a charity is testament to the commitment to the problems the charity exists to combat. “By selecting the right charity, you are putting resources directly into the hands of people engaged in work you consider important. In today’s often hectic world, too often, we all think there is nothing we can do to solve all the world’s problems; when in fact, we have the power to make a direct impact on any cause we feel passionately about. So, whether a monetary donation, or actual time and effort, it all makes a difference which in short, can change the world. The worst thing is waiting until you are directly affected before committing to helping others.”
This is a series of stories about the people we work with and the people we are.
We have all worked with technology for long enough to understand that it takes more than a great product to make a company successful. It’s about a community of people working towards making our customers successful. That same drive/passion isn’t isolated to the office but is reflected in the activities/actions of the Changepoint team in their personal lives.
In our Employee Spotlight Series, we will introduce you to members of the Changepoint team. Since we are a global organization, we will share stories from employees and the interesting ways in which they are applying their talents around the world. We hope that you’ll enjoy these stories and that they give you some insight into the people behind the product.