Tag Archives: CDC

Emma Borys Speaks Up — And Out — About Epilepsy

Last October, “06880” honored the work Emma Borys was doing with epilepsy. The Staples High School junior — diagnosed with the disease in 6th grade — is an outspoken advocate for research and education.

This spring, she was chosen as the Epilepsy Foundation of Connecticut‘s representative for a lobbying effort in Washington, DC.

Emma had been helped by trainers who spoke to her teachers about the myths and realities of epilepsy.

But many students don’t have that opportunity. The DC program brought teenagers to the Capitol, to urge their representatives to approve CDC funding for that educational program.

Emma joined one student from each state. They gathered in a large room, and shared personal stories. The goal was to help them become comfortable speaking the next day with legislators.

“I’d never really talked to another teenager about epilepsy,” Emma says. “It’s great to realize we have similar experiences and hardships.”

The next day, Emma met with her congressman, Jim Himes, as well as 2 other Connecticut representatives: Rosa DeLauro and John Larson. She also spoke with staffers from DeLauro and Joe Courtney’s offices.

Congressman Jim Himes and Emma Borys.

All were very receptive. The mother of a Himes staffer has epilepsy, Emma says, so he seemed particularly interested.

Emma felt empowered and energized by the lobbying day. But her advocacy is not over.

Last weekend, she participated in a fundraising march in Stamford. She was proud of her efforts — and wants “o6880” readers to know that donations can still be made through May 25. Just click here to help.

Drunk And Happy

This survey came out on St. Patrick’s Day.  Rather than pass it along then — there was enough celebrating going on already — I thought I’d sit on it until an appropriate moment a slow news day.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the Bridgeport-Stamford area has the 7th highest rate of binge drinking in the country.

While a 2009 survey showed that 15% of American adults binge drink — meaning 5 or more drinks at a time on one or more occasions in the previous 30 days for men, 4 or more for women — the average for our soused slice of Fairfield County is 21.5%.

This person is drunk. So he probably lives around here.

The binge drinking capital of the US is, of course, Hilo, Hawaii.  Second place is taken by nearby (probably) Kapaa, Hawaii.

Then come the stumbling citizens of Fargo, North Dakota; Butte-Silver Bow, Montana and Bozeman, Montana, followed by Milwaukee.

I understand #6 — a beer company boasted that it “made Milwaukee famous” — and I understand why people in places like Fargo drink to excess.  You would too if you had to listen to that accent all day.

But Hawaii?  When I hear “The Aloha State,” binge drinking is not the first image that pops into mind.

And Bridgeport-Fairfield-Westport-Norwalk-Darien-Stamford?  Don’t we have better things to do, like tearing down homes and ignoring stop signs and rebuilding cities and playing golf and figuring out how very wealthy and very poor people can live next to each other without ever interacting?  Who has time to drink?

(And remember, the CDC surveyed adults, not teenagers — the true binge drinking champs.)

But wait!

Hot on the heels of this we-really-need-a-Valium news comes another survey.  Also around St. Paddy’s Day, Gallup released its list of the U.S. cities that rate highest for overall well-being.  In other words, happy places.

Based on interviews with over 350,000 Americans — who answered questions about physical and emotional health, lifestyles and work — Gallup determined that the Bridgeport-Stamford region is the 9th happiest in the country!

These people are both drunk and happy. So they must be from the Bridgeport-Stamford metropolitan area, right?

Boulder, Colorado was 1st — no argument there — followed by a grab-bag of places:  Lincoln, Nebraska; Fort Collins-Loveland, Colorado; Provo-Orem, Utah; Honolulu; Madison, Wisconsin (they must have missed all the pissed-off people in the Capitol building); Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Gainesville, Florida.

So there you have it.  Westporters — along with Bridgeporters, Norwalkers, Stamforders and Fairfieldites — are among the most drunken yet happiest Americans of all.

We’ll drink to that.    😉