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Support Group Works To Find The Perfect Match For Epileptics

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Indian Express
17 November 2010
By Samarpita Banerjee

Members of the Sanvedana epilepsy support groupMembers of the Sanvedana epilepsy support group
EPILEPSY patients often suffer not just from the condition but also the social stigma associated with it.

Among the problems faced by patients is a difficulty in finding a partner. A support group, Sanvedna, is working to help epilepsy patients find the perfect match.

"Till a few years back, I had a very low self confidence and was not sure if I would ever get married.

My association with Sanvedana changed everything. Today, I am happily married for almost a year," said 26–year–old Deepak Patil (name changed). He met his wife during a marriage meet organised by the group.

The support group was started by Yashoda Wakankar, an epileptic herself, and Radhika Deshpande and Mohan Phatak, who have epileptic children. The group will organise a second marriage meet on November 21.

"We laid the foundation of ourgroup in 2004. With our interactions with patients and their parents, we found that marriage was a major issue for many of them. It was then that we thought of starting a meet to help such people," said Wakankar.

The group started a marriage bureau in 2007 and organised its first marriage meet in 2008. As many as ten couples have found their match through the initiative. "There is a lot of stigma attached to the disorder. Through these meets, we want to create awareness among the youth and their parents that epileptic people can lead a normal life with medication and care," said Deshpande.

Patil, who completes a year of married life in December, said, "I found my match in Sanvedana’s marriage meet. My wife is a children’s counsellor and she is epileptic. We have had no problems and are leading perfectly normal lives."

Already 140 have registered for this year’s meet. Well–known neurologist Dr Rahul Kulkarni will attend the meet and talk on marriage and epilepsy. "There has been an increase in awareness. But still marriage with an epileptic person is considered taboo and it is this mindset that we need to change. It is a great initiative that Sanvedana has taken up," said Kulkarni.

Marriage counsellor Dr Vandana Kulkarni and Dr Anil Awachat will also be present.

"People from places like Thane, Mumbai, Nagpur and Chennai have also registered. We are hoping that each one of them attend the meet so that we are able make a difference," added Wakankar.

For details contact contact@aarogya.com

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