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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Epilepsy Services Foundation, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Epilepsy, Health, Health Care, Public Health

Mission: The Epilepsy Services Foundation, Inc. is committed to creating a better future and environment for persons affected by epilepsy in West Central Florida, including children, teens, young adults and their families. The office is located in Tampa, FL.

Results: ESF trained over 58 volunteers to be mentors who can provide education and support to other parents and families affected by epilepsy. ESF provided 25 camp scholarships for children and teens to participate in a medically-supervised camp, Camp Boggy Creek. ESF provided 20 scholarships for families to attend one of three Epilepsy Family Retreat Weekends. ESF provided 3 scholarships for University of South Florida medical students and residents to continue their pursuit of neurology as a medical focus. ESF provided 5 scholarships for persons affected by epilepsy to pursue their college degrees. ESF provided numerous epilepsy education programs to students, teachers, childcare workers and nurses in West Central Florida.

Target demographics: Persons affected by epilepsy, primarily children, teens, young adults & their families

Direct beneficiaries per year: 800-1,000 persons

Geographic areas served: West Central Florida: Hillsborough, Polk, Hardee, Highlands, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando counties.

Programs: Information and Referral Education & Awareness Graces' Hope Hospital Visitation Program Support Groups Mentoring Project Access Emergency medications Fundraising Volunteer

Community Stories

40 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I cannot speak highly enough about this organization and the services its Board, Executive Director, volunteers, and supporters provide for the community and, particularly, persons effected by epilepsy and their loved ones. ESF's dedication to educating and growing awareness in the community about the challenges of epilepsy is unmatched. The love and outreach ESF's members give to individuals who deal with epilepsy, and the support shown to their families, is constant. ESF's programs and fundraising activities have bettered so many lives. I am a former board member and volunteer, and now just a fan. I feel blessed and grateful to have been involved in such a laudable non-profit organization.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have never worked with a more caring and dedicated group of people who desire only to help individuals affected by epilepsy, whether directly or indirectly through their loved ones. My participation with ESF began by virtue of the fact that my employer, Fowler White Boggs P.A., has been a long time sponsor and supporter of this organization. However, even if I did not have professional ties to ESF, I would gladly volunteer to assist this non-profit, which is comprised of giving and selfless individuals who make this world a better place on a daily basis. Unlike well-known national non-profit organizations, ESF is striving to expand through grass root connections and local/regional awareness with the ultimate goal of providing a wider range of support, assistance, and educational services. In my brief time volunteering with ESF, I have seen the efforts of its volunteers deeply touch the lives of children and adults who are affected one way or the other by epilepsy. Dedicating my time to this organization has been nothing but a pleasure. Please support our cause!

1 RBH_FL

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have participated in fundraising walks with ESF for many years and from the very beginning was extremely impressed with how the executive director, Tom Orth, reached out personally to participants to thank them for their support. Over the years I became a regular volunteer in the Purple Day Walk for Epilepsy held annually to raise funds to send kids with epilepsy to summer camp, and in January had the honor of being elected to the Board of Directors. We are a very small non-profit in the traditional sense in that we only have ONE paid employee and are almost completely volunteer driven, yet we have so many programs and events that we help children and adults affected by epilepsy in Hillsborough, Polk, and Pinellas counties (Florida) - which for those not familiar is the Tampa / St. Pete area. I am so privileged and honored to volunteer with this organization and plan to continue to associate myself with them for a very long time!

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

(I apologize in advance for any typos, as I recently dislocated my shoulder during an epileptic seizure and am typing 1 handed.) As both "client" and volunteer with ESF I can honestly say that this is a true non-profit that cares more about the people helped than to ever making $$ for themselves. Through a variety of walks and other events ESF not only brings Epilepsy awareness and education to the community, but also raise funds to send kids with Epilepsy to summer camp, college scholarships for students with Epilepsy as well as for those going into the field of neurology, and more. I am really glad I have become involved with ESF and hope to continue to be for a long time.

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1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer I have the opportunity to help plan, collect donations, get volunteers and golf in a great outing with some of my fellow colleagues. It's a thrill to see how the community comes together on behalf of the children with epilepsy giving donations, funds, time, raffle prizes, and food! I didn't know much about eplilepsy before volunteering to help make the golf outing a success. It's stunning to hear how many precautions that people with epilepsy have to take to keep from having a seizure. Without this organization there are many children who would never get to experience a camp because the cost is prohibited with the 24/7 medical assistance needed. I was looking for something to give back to the community and even though this is only a once a year event, I am thrilled to participate. This organization is great. Tom Orth who is in charge is the most kind and sincere person you will ever meet. It's not about him. It's about the kids! When the community gives so much it's great just to watch Tom, he's like a kid himself. He gets so excited and never loses gratitude. If you are looking for a solid organization to volunteer or support, I highly recommend this one. Donna B, Tampa FL

1 Maritza C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Epilepsy Services Foundaiton, Inc. is a unique foundation that supports the need to spread awareness of a very important cause that impacts children of all ages. The executive director, Tom is wonderful and truly cares for the foundation and is very dedicated. I feel honored to be a part of a wonderful team.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Epilepsy Services Foundation has given me the opportunity to get involved with the community and help other individuals with seizure disorders - like myself - by allowing me to be a part Project Access. As a volunteer, I have witnessed first had the hard work board members put in to assure individuals with seizure disorders receive proper care, put together events that intend to educate others about epilepsy, fund raise, and most importantly provide a loving environment in which a person can feel welcomed and accepted for who they are. The foundation has also granted me a scholarship that will help me further my education in hopes that one day I will be able to create programs to improve the quality of life of persons with seizure disorders through the public health sector. The foundation deserves this award and much more!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I became involved with this foundation through my wife who has epilepsy. Like most people I didn't know much about epilepsy and had very stereo-typical ideas about people with epilepsy. i.e. they look different, they act different, they are constantly having an "episode", they cannot lead a normal life, they are "slow", etc. I know it sounds awful but it's what many people believe. My wife is the very opposite of the above description; she is one of the most physically fit, motivated, disciplined, and intelligent persons I have ever met. She did not tell me about her epilepsy until months after dating and even after getting married I sometimes learn of old adversities that she has had to face due to others prejudices. This foundation has taught me so much about this condition and has encouraged me to give back in both my professional life and personal life. I am a chiropractor and have dedicated a significant portion of my practice to helping those that have epilepsy through spinal and cervical adjustments. It's no cure but the research shows there are benefits. Without this foundation, my wife would still be the incredible person she is today, she's a fighter, but I'm not sure I would be the husband that I am today. Thank-you Epilepsy Services Foundation.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My story starts when I was diagnosed with Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy at the age of eight. Luckily for me my condition was so minor that even my closest friends were not aware that I had epilepsy; epilepsy in a way became my dark secret in life. I led a very normal active life. I began my college career with the intention of becoming a lawyer, but subsequently determined that my passion at that time lied in a career in law enforcement. I applied for a very competitive scholarship with the Tampa Police Department. After a year-long background screening process that involved numerous psychological, fitness, and academic testing I eagerly accepted TPD’s scholarship offer. I had graduated from the police academy third in my class academically. A week after getting sworn in, I received a phone call from the doctor informing me that he would not be able to approve me medically fit to receive the pension. Consequently I lost my job. My worst nightmare had come true in the worst possible way. The doctor said that my condition was a “disability” and the department said that they would not be able to make any accommodations for me. I had never been called disabled before or treated in such a way, and now I was losing my job over my so called “disability”. Looking back I now realize that this was a turning point in my life. Before, I never considered myself an epileptic, but I was now forced to realize that I was. I was angry and realized that I shouldn’t be ashamed to have epilepsy and that I needed to fight back not just for myself, but for others with epilepsy that either had or will eventually be discriminated against as I was. This experience had given me a new perspective on life and illuminated a new career path in law. This was when I became involved with the Epilepsy Services Foundation. For six years now I have volunteered and have committed myself to this Foundation, but this foundation has helped me more emotionally, psychologically, and philosophically than I can ever return. I will be graduating from Stetson University Of Law in December and will continue to volunteer, support, and promote those that have epilepsy. I'm a living example; I'm epileptic and yes I can!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This charity is amazing! As the mother of a teenager recently diagnosed wiith Epilepsy, which was the result of a head injury sustained while wrestling around with friends, I decided that I wanted to become involved with anything to help raise awareness and funding for Epilespy. I volunteered for an event, an Epilepsy fundraising race, and instantly felt like one of the family. Everyone was very welcoming, and each had their own stories of how Epilespy has touched their lives. Epilepsy Services Foundation has opened my family's eyes to resources available to us in the community and support groups that we were previously unaware of. They even told us about a camp specifically for children with Epilepsy, Camp Boggy Creek, which my daughter attended in July, and she had a blast!!! For the first time since her head injury, she was able to relax and not be afraid of her seizures. Epilepsy Services Foundation has really helped my daughter to see that she is not alone, that there is help for her, and that people really do care and want to help find a cure for her and others dealing with Epilepsy.

1 William14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Tom Orth does an amazing job as an administrator and this is the only group I commit personal time to. I have lived with my seizure disorder for almost 40 years and the quality of the relationships I have is why I am so committed to the Epilepsy Services Foundation.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with ESF over the years and helped in several ways, one of which is the Golfing for Kids Classic. I also served on the committee and have volunteered at the Classic and the Hare Racing Experience. While working on these wonderful events, I have grown to love this organization and have seen 1st hand the difference it has made in so many peoples lives. The money helped raise scholarships for Boggy Creek and future educational goals. Our Tampa Bay organization has been a blessing for those effected by Epilepsy.

James40

Volunteer

Rating: 5

To keep this short and sweet I see the work that Tom and Epilepsy Services Foundation accomplish on a daily basis. His passion to help the epilepsy community is infectious and we are lucky to have such a supportive group as Epilepsy Services Foundation right here in the Tampa Bay area. While at an event I was able to see first hand the help that Tom and his group brings to the community - a mother of a newly diagnosed epilepsy patient was nervous and lost with their new challenge. Tom was able to bring together some other families who had already learned to deal with Epilepsy and help this scared mother. She left the meeting feeling empowered and confident that they would be able to meet this challenge head on. It still puts a smile on my face. Good work Tom.

1 Susanne3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked with Tom Orth for the past three years helping out at their annual golf tournament. It's heartwarming to know that the money we raise will allow children with epilepsy to attend a summer camp, Camp Boggy Creek, just like other children. We just had our 24th Annual Golfing for Kids tournament and I believe we raised enough to help send 22 kids to camp this summer. We changed our venue this year and I believe we will be bigger and better again next year.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What a wonderful organization! For over 10 years I have had the pleasure of seeing this Foundations volunteer efforts go to work. My family (3 generations) have been involved in the NAIFA Tampa Golf Classic, Hare Racing Experience and the Ribs for Kid's Fundraising events for many years now. Although none of our immediate family or friends are challanged with this illness, we have nevertheless felt the impact of the work ESF does as expressed in the Boggy Creek camp we have been able to help send kids to every year.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Epilepsy services is the best. I have worked with my professional association, the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors for more than 10 years to promote Epilepsy Services. We sponsor a golf tournament to send children with epilepsy to camp. We have raised over $400,000 in our 23 year partnership. I have seen a video of the children at camp and what an experience they have. Over the years we are always aware of the need for them and work to fill in the gap of monies needed.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As both a volunteer and a mother of a child with epilepsy, I cannot begin to explain the impact that Epilepsy Services Foundation (ESF) has had on my life. When my husband and I first found out that our daughter was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 7 we did not know how to handle the news. Would she be normal and would the seizures have long term effects on her growth, learning process and ability to make friends and interact with other children? I work for a company that donates and volunteers their time to ESF and attended the Hare Racing Experience three years ago. Since that event, I have gained knowledge and information that has helped not only my husband and I but my daughter in understanding and dealing with her epilepsy in a positive and healthy way. I have met various healthcare professionals, counselors and parents through this wonderful organization who have touched my life in ways that some people would not even imagine. My daughter who is now 10 years old has such a positive outlook on her epilepsy and understands that it cannot and will not stop her in her every day life. She has been seizure free for a year and a half now and thanks to the tools and information provided to our family through ESF we are looking forward to the years to come. Please endorse Epilepsy Services Foundation so that other families, like mine, dealing with epilepsy can benefit from the wonderful services that they provide on a daily basis.

Karly A. Thompson

1 Brandy T.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I recently got involved with the Epilepsy Services Foundation to help fight for those living with this condition. My best friend's sweet little boy, Jake from Texas, was diagnosed with Epilepsy when he was 3. From that moment on I set out to find a way for me to be involved and to learn more. I knew the moment I met Tom Orth it was calling my name. The genuine passion, care and concern for the Epilepsy community is apparent in every little thing the foundation does. Sending kids to camp, spreading awareness, providing scholarships to those entering the neurological field, doctor referrals, mentoring programs, a wealth of knowledge, and so much more...It's quite eye-opening as to what it truly means to give passionately. I am so fortunate to volunteer and be a part of such a great foundation.

1 alsanfilippo

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first got involved with Epilepsy Services Foundation after I moved to central FL and began looking for a local epilepsy organization. ESF was taking part in their "Be a Cupcake! Buy a Cupcake!" fund raising and awareness campaign and I thought I can do that! When I contacted ESF I also got information on an upcoming local awareness walk and joined the planning committee. Since my son was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2007 I've wanted to be a part of something to spread awareness and to be able to share experiences with others who understand firsthand. I consider myself so lucky to have found ESF and am proud and excited to become more involved.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My employer is a large law firm who has sponsored ESF for years with their various fundraisers. I became involved in volunteering with ESF five or six years ago for their annual Hyde Park Music Series event as well as their Hare Race Experience in Tampa. At each event I would always meet someone who shared their story of having epilepsy and the significant help they received from ESF and how it change their lives. I do not suffer from the disease but felt compelled to continue volunteering and helping with this great cause. As fate would have it my husband and I changed churches four years ago and we began attending Sunday service at the James A. Haley Veteran Hospital and there was Tom (ESF Executive Director) and his wife, Carole. We see Tom on a weekly basis and speak about the ongoing good results that occur for this foundation. Tom's demeanor and personality shines in his perseverance and dedication to this cause. I can only hope that he will continue to receive the resources needed to help so many who suffer from this dreaded illness. I recently attended a scholarship reception for several ESF students who will continue to work in the health field looking for a cure for Epilepsy. One particular family touched my heart where both brother and sister were diagnosed with epilepsy in their teen years and are now faced with the loss of privileges most teens take for granted, i.e., a driver's license, etc. I am blessed with good health . . . . they should be too. Any assistance for ESF is always greatly appreciated.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with ESF since early 2000; as a volunteer, as a part-time employee, and as a donor. Wishing that eveyone could see the good works that have been done and are still being done by ESF. The children that have been able to attend camp, the college students that have been given scholarship funds, the medical expenses that have been paid, the social activities for clients at holidays, and the education that has been given to the community. What an amazing organization!