About Us

ESF offers programs and services that are designed to increase understanding of epilepsy, promote dialogue between persons with epilepsy, families and others dealing with the impact of epilepsy. ESF offers current information about epilepsy, support, encouragement and hope to persons who find themselves struggling with the day-to-day challenges and fears associated with this chronic medical condition. To learn more about our programs, click on the Programs tab.

ESF raises funds to provide scholarships for kids with epilepsy to attend Camp Boggy Creek, three family retreat weekends at Camp Boggy Creek, Rotary’s Camp Florida and Deliver the Dream Camp, college scholarships for students affected by epilepsy to pursue a college degree and medical scholarships for persons pursuing the field of neurology. ESF also provides funding for medical support services.

ESF has provided services in the Tampa Bay community for 45 years.

ESF is a 501(C)(3) corporation and was incorporated in the State of Florida on May 4, 1973. The ESF State of Florida corporation document number is 726327. For the last five years, the Great    Nonprofits Organization selected ESF as one of the top-rated health non-profits in America.

Mission

Committed to creating a better future and environment for persons affected by epilepsy living in West Central Florida, especially children, teens and young adults with epilepsy and their families.

Board of Directors

Gary Englund - President

Financial Advisor, Certified Financial Planner, The Walters Group at Morgan Stanley. Married to Susan, parents of Brad and Kelley. Lived in Lutz for 31 years. No family history of epilepsy. We have been blessed with two healthy children and I serve to help others less fortunate than us. Avid sports fan, enjoying travel, hiking, and snowshoeing.

Scott Strain - Vice President

Systems Engineer with E*TRADE for last 18 years. Married to Verla with two beautiful children, Lila Grace and Shelby. Lived with seizure disorder for last 25 years. Huge Alabama fan, graduated in 2000. Love helping others.

Scott Barry - Secretary

Chiropractor who has served for many years on ESF’s board and has now re-joined the board after several years.

Marcelo Miano - Treasurer

Holds an MBA from the University of Miami, licensed stockbroker for 26 years. An inventor in the medical field, experience with start-up corporations in the technology and in the development of new product and ideas. His experience in advertising, production management, and great organization skills bring him the focus necessary to lead, develop, and execute a plan in a team environment.

Heather Rodgers

Heather has a seizure disorder and works for a global management consulting company. Married with one beautiful daughter.

Callan “Cal” Albritton

Works for the United States Attorney’s Office in Tampa. Married.

Rachelle Rossmeisl

Rachelle has a daughter with epilepsy and works for an employment staffing company.

Amanda works as a paralegal for Wiand Guerra King LLC.

Sande Vanhook

Sande has a daughter with epilepsy and served as ESF’s Volunteer Coordinator for several years.

Dina Vila

Works for Fran Haasch Law Group. 

Monique Scott

University of South Florida Alumni. Degree in Criminology. Assistant State Attorney at the State Attorney’s Office in Hillsborough County. I have epilepsy and acutely aware of the difficulties others with epilepsy go through on a daily basis. I hope to educate others while serving on the board.

Robin Abbruzzese

With Greenwich Biosciences, and has helped at our gala, golf tournament, walk and Camp Boggy Creek visit, as well as sponsoring the recent Tampa Tarpons baseball evening.

Karen Boggess

Mother of a 4 1/2 year old who seized for the first time last November. She is so thankful for the help Tom and ESF provided them. Her current employment involves helping juveniles in Pinellas and has many talents and resources that would further our mission.

The ESF Medical Professional Advisory Board is composed of epileptologists, neurologists, other healthcare professionals and ESF board members. The Board advises the ESF volunteers and employees on a variety of issues affecting the medical care and support services of persons affected by epilepsy.  Members of the ESF’s PAB review and approve the answers to questions put forth by persons with epilepsy, family members or caregivers and persons viewing ESF’s website or attending an epilepsy education program.

ESF staff members update the PAB on what it is doing in the community to ncrease awareness, provide epilepsy education and support services for persons affected by epilepsy.

Meetings are held three times/year from 7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. at Panera Bread across from the University of South Florida.

  • Advent Health – Neurology Department – Brian Harper
  • Selim Benbadis, MD – Epileptologist 
  • Edmund Grant, MD – Neurologist 
  • Robin Abbruzzese (Board Member)
  • J. Richard Gunderman, MD – Neurologist 
  • Yvette Herrington, ARNP
  • Sergio Jacinto, MD – Neurologist 
  • Marcelo Miano (Board Member)
  • Jose Ferreira, MD – Epileptologist 
  • Nancy Rodgers-Neame, MD – Epileptologist 
  • Heather Rogers (Board Member)
  • Maria Gieron, MD – Epileptologist 
  • Hector Velez, MD – Epileptologist 
  • Eric Vernier, MD – Epileptologist 

Historical Background

Gulf Coast Epilepsy Foundation is established on May 4, 1973 by Barbara McNerney and some parents. Foundation is begun in Barbara’s garage and provided educational materials, information & referral and support groups. Eventually, offices were established on Kennedy Boulevard, Linebaugh Avenue, Waters Avenue, North Armenia Avenue and finally at current address (4618 North Armenia Avenue). Statewide Antiepileptic Drug Program is established. Gulf Coast Epilepsy Foundation and other Florida Epilepsy Providers are partly funded by HRS – Developmental Services. Gulf Coast Epilepsy Foundation establishes an office on Kennedy Boulevard.

  • 1975 – Gulf Coast Epilepsy Foundation is partly funded by United Way of Hillsborough County.
  • 1982 – Gulf Coast Epilepsy Foundation leases new offices on Linebaugh Avenue.
  • 1983 – Gulf Coast Epilepsy Foundation establishes a satellite office in Lakeland, FL.
  • 1985 – Gulf Coast Epilepsy Foundation is partly funded by the United Way of Central Florida.
  • 1987 – Gulf Coast Epilepsy Foundation is partly funded by Hillsborough County, Board of County Commissioners. Live Music Series is established.
  • 1988 – Gulf Coast Epilepsy Foundation and other Florida Epilepsy Providers are moved to HRS –       Department of Health (HRS-DOH).Gulf Coast Epilepsy Foundation’s name is changed to Epilepsy Foundation of West Central Florida, Inc. TAIFA Golf Classic is established. Epilepsy Foundation of West Central Florida leases new offices on Waters Avenue. Epilepsy Foundation of West Central Florida holds first Christmas party in Tampa. Legislature establishes Governor’s Task Force on Epilepsy.
  • 1989 – Epilepsy Foundation of West Central Florida holds first Easter Egg Hunt in Lakeland.
    1990 – Florida Epilepsy Providers avert elimination from State of Florida budget. 80% of funding is restored. Legislature enacts the Epilepsy Prevention & Education Trust Fund.
  • 1991 – Florida Legislature distributes the Epilepsy Prevention & Education Trust Fund to Florida Epilepsy Providers. Epilepsy Foundation of West Central Florida, Inc. establishes relationship with newly established Epilepsy Clinic at Tampa General Hospital. Case managers provide services at clinic.
  • 1992 – Hare Racing Experience is established. Epilepsy Foundation of West Central Florida, Inc. establishes endowment at the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay. Epilepsy Foundation of West Central Florida, Inc. initiates Prevention & Education program.
  • 1993 – Epilepsy Foundation of West Central Florida, Inc. leases new offices on Armenia Avenue.     Epilepsy Foundation of West Central Florida, Inc. establishes a committee to study planned giving funding opportunities.
  • 1994 – Epilepsy Services of West Central Florida, Inc. and the University of South Florida HELPLINE Program offer telephone help for persons with epilepsy after regular office hours. Epilepsy Services of West Central Florida, Inc. participates in Hillsborough County Needs Assessment.
  • 1995 – Florida Epilepsy Services Providers become partners with Boggy Creek Camp. General Norman Schwarzkopf and Paul Newman are two of the founders of the camp. Darrold Hunt, conductor of the Washington Philharmonic Orchestra, conducts the University of South Florida ensemble prior to Epilepsy Education Day.
  • 1996 – Florida Legislature increases Epilepsy Services Providers’ budget by $500,000. Epilepsy Foundation of West Central Florida disaffiliates from Epilepsy Foundation of America. 2 corporations are formed by Board of Directors: Epilepsy Services of West Central Florida, Inc. & Epilepsy Services Foundation, Inc. Transbay Charitable Regatta is established. The Statewide Prevention & Education Program is transferred to the Department of Health. Epilepsy Foundation of Florida is dissolved. Florida Epilepsy Services Providers’ Association is established as the new state provider.
  • 1997 – Epilepsy Services of West Central Florida, Inc. establishes outreach case management services program for clients.
  • 1998 – Epilepsy Services of West Central Florida, Inc., Suncoast Epilepsy Association and Epilepsy Services of Southwest Florida develop “Brain-A-Mania” held at Museum of Science and Industry.     Epilepsy Services of West Central Florida, Inc., Suncoast Epilepsy Association and Epilepsy Services of Southwest Florida receive a grant from the Able Trust Foundation to implement additional vocational services in their fourteen county service area.
  • 1999 – Epilepsy Services Foundation, Inc. purchases current building at 4618 North Armenia Avenue, Tampa, FL. 33603-2706. Walk For Epilepsy is established. Direct Mail Campaign is established. United Way of Hillsborough County presents Epilepsy Services of West Central Florida with an award for its innovative and successful collaborations with the medical community.
  • 2000 – Krewe of Blues plans and implements a special Christmas party for children of Epilepsy Services of West Central Florida, Inc. Epilepsy Services Foundation, Inc. participates in Leave A Legacy program. Florida Epilepsy Services Providers participate in statewide Epilepsy Strategic Plan.
  • 2001 – Clear Channel donates 100 billboard ads to Epilepsy Services of West Central Florida, Inc. to prevent epilepsy and head injuries. Jorge Diaz, a Tampa Bay Buccaneer, raises money and epilepsy awareness for Epilepsy Services Foundation, Inc. Columbia Restaurant selects Epilepsy Services Foundation for its annual Community Harvest Program.
  • 2002 – The Statewide Prevention & Education Program is transferred from the Department of Health to the Epilepsy Services of West Central Florida, Inc. The University of South Florida, School of Rehabilitation Counseling, completes evaluation of the Epilepsy Services of West Central Florida’s case management program.
  • 2003 – Epilepsy Services Foundation, Inc. refinances the current building at 5.5%.Epilepsy Services Foundation, Inc. receives a bequest from the Arthur & Georgia Kemp Trust for $233,286.31. The Board adds the bequest to the Foundation’s Endowment Fund. Epilepsy Services of West Central Florida, Inc. holds its Epilepsy Education Day at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Jr. League of Tampa and Girl Scout Troop 169 plan and implement a special Christmas party for children of Epilepsy Services of West Central Florida, Inc. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers donate 24 tickets for children to attend the November 2, 2003 BUCs vs. New Orleans Saints football game.
  • 2004 – Epilepsy Services Foundation, Inc. receives an additional $30,000.00 bequest from the Arthur & Georgia Kemp Trust. Epilepsy Services Foundation, Inc. receives an additional $8,850.00 bequest from the Arthur & Georgia Kemp Trust. Epilepsy Services of West Central Florida, Inc. advertises for a new Executive Director to begin January 2, 2005. Dr. William Tatum and Thomas Orth complete a pilot study entitled “Case Management In Epilepsy: An Impact Study.” Dr. Tatum presents study at annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society. Dr. Tatum is invited to submit an article on the study to “Epilepsy & Behavior,” an international epilepsy journal.
  • 2005 – Dan Grant starts his new position as Executive Director of Epilepsy Services of West Central Florida, Inc. on January 3, 2005 and holds his first Board Meeting on January 13, 2005. Epilepsy Services Foundation holds its first Capital Campaign in thirty-two years. Donors responded by giving $139,221 to the Campaign. Epilepsy Services Foundation pays off its mortgage after six years. Without the generosity of our donors, this action could not have happened.  Epilepsy Services Foundation approves $49,668 in funding to the Epilepsy Services of West Central Florida. Epilepsy Services Foundation partners with the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and other Epilepsy Charities to initiate the Reindeer Run in December, 2005. More than 1,000 runners participated. The Epilepsy Services Foundation and the Suncoast Epilepsy Association also participated in the 50/50 nights during Lightning home games. The winner received 50% of the proceeds and the charity received the other 50% of the proceeds.The Department of Health no longer partners with each Epilepsy Services Provider. The Epilepsy Foundation of South Florida became the lead agency and subcontracts with the other epilepsy providers.
  • 2006 – The Epilepsy Services Foundation and other Epilepsy Charities receive a check for $15,000 from the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation. Epilepsy Services Foundation approves $42,655 in funding to the Epilepsy Services of West Central Florida; $12,600 for Boggy Creek scholarships; $2,745 for college scholarships and other assistance. Epilepsy Services Foundation partners with the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and the Suncoast Epilepsy Association for the 2nd Annual Reindeer Run and the 50/50 fundraising program.  Citigroup volunteers paint outside of ESF building. Jr. League of Tampa volunteers paint and provide accessories for lobby.  Dr. William Tatum and Thomas Orth submit an article on the study to “Epilepsia,” an international epilepsy journal on case management program.
  • 2007 – ESF purchases a $250,000 life insurance policy on the Executive Director to benefit the ESF Endowment Program. Citi volunteers paint hallways and two bathrooms on ESWCF side of building. Jr. League of Tampa volunteers paint Board Room and kitchen area. They purchase a conference table and microwave. ESF approves grants to Epilepsy Services of West Central Florida, Suncoast Epilepsy Association and scholarships for Camp Boggy Creek and the Family Weekend Retreat and college scholarships. ESF and other Epilepsy Charities receive a check for $15,000 from the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation.
  • 2008 – ESF approves change to college scholarship program. It will now include persons affected by epilepsy. ESF Board approves 5 hours/week for bookkeeper position. ESF approves grants to Epilepsy Services of West Central Florida, Suncoast Epilepsy Association and scholarships for Camp Boggy Creek and the Family Weekend Retreat and college scholarships. Citi volunteers paint parking striping on asphalt and clean up the grounds. Jr. League of Tampa volunteers paint ESF lobby and bathroom and purchase a new copier. ESF and other Epilepsy Charities receive a check for $15,000 from the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation. ESF Board develops a strategic plan.
  • 2009 – ESF approves 3-year strategic plan. ESF approves new medical scholarship program to benefit, medical students, residents, nurses and other healthcare professionals who show an interest in pursuing the field of neurology with a focus on epilepsy. ESF approves grants to Epilepsy Services of West Central Florida, Suncoast Epilepsy Association and scholarships for Camp Boggy Creek and the Family Weekend Retreat and college scholarships. Citi volunteers paint   outside doors and clean up the grounds. ESF approves Executive Director becoming part-time due to semi-retirement and hires a part-time Associate Director. ESF Board approves a “whistleblower” policy. ESF is awarded a grant from the Anita Kaufmann Foundation to provide educational programs to 5th grade classrooms.
  • 2010 – ESF holds Board retreat to discuss partnership with Epilepsy Foundation of Florida and other changes. ESF faces decline in donations due to the economic recession. ESF can no longer approve grants to other epilepsy organizations.
  • 2011 –  ESF partners with Epilepsy Foundation of Florida to initiate Project Access and H.O.P.E. Mentoring Programs. Project Access is a program to develop innovative strategies for children/youth with epilepsy and their families. The H.O.P.E. Program enables individuals, families and volunteers to increase their knowledge and understanding of epilepsy. ESF is selected by the Great Nonprofits Organization as one of the 2011 top-rated health non-profits in America.
  • 2012 – ESF initiates the Graces’ Hope Hospital Visitation Program. This program supports families of children newly diagnosed with epilepsy. ESF partnered with St. Joseph Children’s Hospital to begin this program. ESF is selected (for the second year) by the Great Nonprofits Organization as one of the 2012 top-rated health non-profits in America. ESF approves a plan to renovate the ESF building and grounds. The plan deals with drainage issues, the parking and asphalt problems and the updating to the front of the building. ESF initiates a new and successful fundraiser: the ESF SeptemBEERfest.
  • 2013 – ESF renovates building and grounds. ESF begins transitioning process for time when Executive Director retires. All Children’s Hospital and Florida Hospital show interest in initiating Grace’s Hope Hospital Visitation Program. ESF is selected (for the third year) by the Great Nonprofits Organization as one of the 2013 top-rated health non-profits in America.
  • 2014 – ESF initiates the Meet & Greet, Parent-to-Parent and Young Adult Programs.ESF keeps $250,000 death benefit for Executive Director Life Insurance policy but reduces premium to $4,500/year. ESF opens a Fidelity brokerage account for accepting charitable donations of stocks.   ESF is selected (for the fourth year) by the Great Nonprofits Organization as one of the 2014 top-rated health non-profits in America.
  • 2015 – ESF is selected (for the fifth year) by the Great Nonprofits Organization as one of the 2015 top-rated health non-profits in America. ESF receives a $50,000 grant from the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation. Brittany Vanhook receives a 2015 Tampa Bay Lightning Community Heroes award. ESF adds two additional Epilepsy Family Retreat Weekends: Rotary’s Camp of Florida and Deliver the Dream. ESF holds first Epilepsy Family Picnic in Tampa.
  • 2016 – ESF re-seals and re-stripes parking lot and installs a new roof.
    ESF pays off bank loan on renovation of ESF building and grounds.
    ESF approves new financial statement.
    ESF sends 25 kids to Camp Boggy Creek and 21 families to one of three Epilepsy Family Retreat Weekends.
    ESF holds Epilepsy Awareness Program on genetic testing and medical marijuana.
    ESF is selected (for the sixth year) by the Great Nonprofits Organization as one of the 2016 top-rated health non-profits in America.
  • 2017 – ESF establishes Search Committee for finding and selecting a new Executive Director.
    ESF sends 18 kids to Camp Boggy Creek and 20 families to the Epilepsy Family Retreat Weekends.
    ESF adds Dr. Maria Gieron and Dr. Eric Vernier to the Medical Professional Advisory Board.
    ESF holds Epilepsy Education Day in Lakeland, FL. to celebrate Epilepsy Awareness Month.
    ESF is again selected by the Great Nonprofits Organization as one of the 2017 top-rated health non-profits in America.
  • 2018 – ESF names Alysia Peddy as the new Executive Director of its Foundation.
    ESF sends 16 kids to Camp Boggy Creek and 22 families to the Epilepsy Family Retreat Weekends.
    ESF is again selected by the Great Nonprofits Organization as one of the 2018 top-rated health non-profits in America.
    ESF is recognized as a gold participant by GuideStar for its accountability, transparency regarding its finances and delivery of quality services.

Staff

Kathie Michael Executive Director
Tom Orth Assistant
Dixie Bookkeeper

Service Area

The Epilepsy Services Foundations provides services for persons affected by epilepsy living in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, Hardee, Highlands and Hernando counties. 

Community Support