Epilepsy Foundation

Jake anaya john pugh chris blades and kristina loshak at sharon's riderunwalk

Meet Sarah Anaya, one of the Epilepsy Foundation of San Diego County’s (EFSDC’s) strongest advocates! For more than twenty-three years, Sarah has actively supported EFSDC. Sarah, together with her son Jake and husband Scott Hilkene are tireless in their efforts to help those living with epilepsy.

Sarah shares her journey with GB Magazine: “Our son Jake was diagnosed with Epilepsy in 1997. Jake just turned 26 which means that Jake has dealt with Epilepsy for over a quarter of a century. We cannot help but sit back and think about the impact those seizures and medications have had on his life and his brain. Yet he is an amazing young man who has and continues to overcome many hurdles. We struggle daily with the effects of both his seizures and the side effects of his medications and finding the right balance, while we search for answers. We take it one day at a time. Jake lives in the moment and always has a great attitude and such a positive outlook; his pure determination and resilience to live his best life is inspiring!”

When a loved one is diagnosed with epilepsy, one of the first responses may be one of fear and a need to find as much information as possible. The Epilepsy Foundation of San Diego County was founded in 1954 to do just that. It helps connect the more than 50,000 people living with epilepsy in San Diego with other families, medical professionals, support groups and programs that are so important to everyone who is impacted.

One in ten people will experience a seizure in their lifetime and one in twenty-six will be diagnosed with epilepsy. EFSDC’s mission is to provide programs and services like epilepsy information and referrals, support groups, individual and family counseling services, training for medical and school personnel and special summer camps for teens and children with epilepsy. These programs and services are provided free of charge.

“They say it takes a village and indeed it does; family, friends, doctors, healthcare works, to name a few and of course the Epilepsy Foundation of San Diego County, who have connected us with so many other families living with epilepsy,” shared Sarah. “EFSDC has been, and continues to be, an amazing resource to us throughout our journey and has been with us every step of the way. In recent years, they have also been a great resource to Jake who engages in many of the programs they offer for young adults. EFSDC works tirelessly to offer advocacy, counseling, support and programs for people and families living with epilepsy.”

Each year at the Sharon’s Ride.Run.Walk. for Epilepsy in San Diego, Sarah and her family our highest fundraising team raise more than $30,000 from friends, colleagues and families to help EFSDC provide educational programming and support to the community. Thank you to Sarah Anaya, Jake and Scott for all their work to make a difference!

The EFSDC’s annual Education Conference will be held the morning of Saturday, July 30, 2022 at Academy of Our Lady of Peace. For more information, please visit www.epilepsysandiego.org.

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Esteban Villanueva