Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

{Support Group Helps Epilepsy Sufferers Lead Normal Lives} {Epilepsy Support Group Shines Light on 'Rare' Disorder}; Organisation Helps Shed Light on Misunderstood Condition

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

{Support Group Helps Epilepsy Sufferers Lead Normal Lives} {Epilepsy Support Group Shines Light on 'Rare' Disorder}; Organisation Helps Shed Light on Misunderstood Condition

Article excerpt

SINGERS Neil Young and Ian Curtis had it.

Actors Hugo Weaving and Danny Glover had it.

Rugby League legend Wally "The King" Lewis had it.

The longest reigning Pope in Church history, Pope Pius IX had it.

Julius Caesar and Socrates possibly had it.

And Toowoomba resident Betty Magoffin wants the world to know about it.

When Ms Magoffin started having dizzy turns 14 years ago, the doctors dismissed it as nothing more than stress.

What they didn't know was Ms Magoffin, like two per cent of the world's population, had neurological condition known as Epilepsy.

"I had no idea what was going on," Ms Magoffin said.

"I was told by physicians that it was simply stress, depression or even menopause. I knew it wasn't a psychiatric problem, and I certainly doubt I could have been going through menopause again."

It wasn't until Betty moved to Toowoomba in 2004 that she finally figured out what was wrong.

"The first GP I saw in Toowoomba knew what was wrong. Her exact words were 'For heavens sake, you have epilepsy'."

With those six words, Ms Magoffin started both a fight and a passion against the now all-too-familiar disorder.

Until she was diagnosed with complex partial and generalised seizures and then prescribed medication, Ms Magoffin was suffering from severe hot flushes, dizzy turns, drop attacks, blackouts, day seizures and nocturnal seizures with loss of bladder control.

"I felt like jumping for joy. I knew what was wrong with me, and that it could be treated," she said.

"Quite often there is no real cause for epilepsy besides it being a hereditary disorder. My grandmother has had "Grand Mal" seizures (now called Tonic Clonics), one of the most severe types of epileptic seizures.

"It was not a pretty sight."

Since her diagnosis, Betty has gone from being confused and embarrassed about her epilepsy to the most out-spoken and passionate person with epilepsy in the Darling Downs.

Betty dedicates a lot of her time to meeting and socialising with other epilepsy sufferers in the Darling Downs as part of her work with the Epilepsy Support Group Toowoomba.

One of the members, and a friend of Betty's, is Toowoomba resident Kevin Garrett, who suffered from epilepsy as a child. …

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