July/August 2021


"You get what you give." - Jennifer Lopez

Epilepsy Services of Southwest Florida  

Bi-Monthly Newsletter
Ninth Edition
July/August 2021


Greeting to our clients, physicians, donors, sponsors, supporters, and community members! 

We are still faced with many of the challenges we experienced in 2020.  The COVID-19 virus is still evident, but we hope that you, your family and friends will be vaccinated soon.    
We are looking forward to where we can all eventually come together again and continue on a path to a healthy, safe and prosperous life. 

Epilepsy Services of Southwest Florida always puts the health, safety, and well-being of our clients, employees and stakeholders first.

We are following the recommendations of the local and national authorities and are abundantly concerned for all members of our community. 

We have decided to temporarily suspend office visits, events and in-person support groups until further notice due to COVID-19. 

We are working remotely and are available via email or phone.

All client clinic visits with their physician will be coordinated from our offices.

These visits will be scheduled by your Case Manager and they will contact you regarding your appointment.


Please call the following numbers or email to connect with your Case Manager:

Fort Myers Office (also serves Naples)
Bobbi Frasca; (239) 265-6865,email bfrasca@esswfl.org
or Gwendolyn Howerton; (239) 275-4838 ext.2, email ghowerton@esswfl.org

Sarasota office, Rebeca Elton:  
(941) 953-5988, ext. 312, email relton@esswfl.org

Sarasota & Bradenton office,
Diane Walz: (941) 752-6226; email dwalz@esswfl.org

Other inquiries:
Executive Director, Kevin Lindberg: (941) 953-5988, ext. 303, email klindberg@esswfl.org

Prevention & Education information,
Community Outreach Coordinator, Barbara Coleman:
(941) 953-5988, ext. 316, email bcoleman@esswfl.org

In the event of an emergency, please call 911, as Epilepsy Services of Southwest Florida is not an emergency service organization. 

Our staff hopes you and your loved ones stay healthy and safe during this difficult time.


Epilepsy Services Seeks Volunteer Board Members

Epilepsy Services of Southwest Florida is proud to announce the addition of a new Board member for our fiscal year 2021-2022.  Please join us in welcoming Jim Fisher, a Fort Myers resident, to our board.  We know that Jim will provide valuable assistance and guidance to our organization.

Additionally, the following board members were approved for Epilepsy Services of Southwest Florida's fiscal year July 2021 through June 2022:

President:                Margie Yurewitch, Naples, FL
Vice-President:        Cynthia Smith, Bonita Springs, FL
Secretary:                Maria Vasconcelos, Port Charlotte, FL
Treasurer:                Julie Aranibar, St. Petersburg, FL

Volunteer Members:
Jay Abrams, Sarasota, FL; Arthur Jackman, Sarasota, FL;  Matt Sandburg, Sarasota, FL; Marilyn Kirchman, Sarasota, FL; Patrick Smith, Babcock Ranch, FL: Cassidy Marino (student member), Fort Myers, FL,
Executive Director:  Kevin Lindberg, Sarasota, FL. 


 "Ask the Expert" - a new way to ask your questions or express concerns:

In response to the government health recommendations regarding COVID-19, we have cancelled our monthly group support meetings.  We want to "keep the conversation going" and would like to hear any questions or concerns you have regarding epilepsy.  These can be questions about yourself, a loved one, friend, family member, neighbor, etc.  We will gather questions and respond to them in upcoming newsletters.  All questions posted will remain anonymous and we will "ask the expert" to respond to your question or concern. Listed below is a question we received this month. 

"How many people have epilepsy?"

Epilepsy is more prevalent than many people realize.  According to a recent report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), epilepsy is the nation’s fourth most common neurological disorder after migraine, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. 
Epilepsy is more common than Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis combined!

Here are some statistics that may surprise you:

  • 1 IN 26 people in the United States will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime.
  • 65 MILLION: Number of people around the world who have epilepsy.
  • 3.4 MILLION: Number of people in the United States who have epilepsy.
  • Approximately 400,000 in Florida have epilepsy.
  • 150,000: Number of new cases of epilepsy in the United States each year.
  • ONE-THIRD: Number of people with epilepsy who live with uncontrollable seizures because no available treatment works for them,

Please know that you are not alone if you have epilepsy.  People who have epilepsy can lead long and fulfilling lives.

If you or someone you know has epilepsy and you wish to learn more about this disorder, please contact Barbara Coleman, Community Outreach Coordinator, at the email indicated below.

To submit a question, please email: bcoleman@esswfl.org.


Bobbi Frasca, Case Manager,
Fort Myers office is retiring.

Saying good-bye to Bobbi Frasca, Case Manager in our Fort Myers office, will be difficult.  Bobbi has been affiliated with ESSWFL for 8 years and has provided her clients with superior service and support.  We are eternally grateful for Bobbi's dedication.  She always went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure her clients' needs were met.  We will sincerely miss her!  Below is a very heartfelt message to her clients.

To my clients:

It has been a pleasure for the past 8 years to be able to serve each and every one of you and to help you with any and all assistance that you have needed.  

It is a bittersweet decision that my husband and I have made to retire, effective 7/1/21.  For the first 4 years I had the pleasure to serve Lee County and for the last 4 years I have enjoyed working with Hendry, Charlotte and Collier as well.  You have all become part of my life in special ways and I will always hold these memories in my heart. 

As I retire, we plan to become “snowbirds” and travel back and forth to Tennessee. I will assist my replacement, Dee Cilento, in any way that I can to ensure a smooth transition. 

Please be assured that our office will continue to assist you in any way that we are able and you will receive the same dedicated service that we continually aspire to provide.

Thank you for the opportunity to be your case manager, your friend, your confident and your cheerleader.  You have all helped make my time with Epilepsy Services a rewarding and unforgettable experience.

All my best in everything you do.  Remember “If you get the chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you DANCE”.
Bobbi Frasca


Please welcome new case manager, Dee Cilento! 

Please join us in welcoming Dee Cilento to our Fort Myers office.  Dee will be taking the place of Bobbi Frasca, and is excited about helping ESSWFL serve our clients.  Here is more about Dee in her own words:

My name is Deyanilda Cilento, also known as Dee. I am originally from the Dominican Republic. I came to the United States of America 30 years ago to participate in a project sponsored by the Dominican Republic Consulate in New York City, the same month and year that I graduated from law school. Years later, I met my husband of 26 years, and we have a beautiful daughter.

We moved to Florida in 2000. I worked for the Florida Department of Health in Lee County for 20+ years. About thirteen of these years I worked as an epidemiological investigator. Later, I took a position as Health Program Analyst for the refugee health, insulin, and epilepsy programs. I returned to college in 2004 to pursue a degree in Supervision and Management. 

For me, family is everything. I also care about people. Humanities fascinate me because they could help us understand others through their language, histories, and cultures. And above all, they teach us empathy.  I also enjoy shopping, a good book, traveling, and hanging out with family and friends.

I feel blessed for the opportunity to be part of the ESSWFL team, and I am looking forward to work with all of you. Thank you!


Alternate textIn each issue of this newsletter we will feature members of our staff or volunteer board of directors with the intention that you will be able to get to know a little bit better the faces behind the names.

This issue we are featuring Julie Aranibar, ESSWFL Board Treasurer.Alternate text

Many of us may know someone who has some form of seizure condition or someone with Epilepsy. Serving on this board has given us the opportunity to meet people and share experiences of what epilepsy is and the forms of treatments available. For many years,  my family and I were involved in Kiwanis, which is a global organization dedicated to serving children. The Key Club is the high school group sponsored by Kiwanis and we noticed that high school students with sports-related head injuries had difficulty with reading and seizures.

When I began serving on this board, we oversaw the funding that provided young people who were just starting jobs.  Due to epilepsy, they could not drive- affecting an important time for first jobs and beginning careers. The services provided and the outreach to the community can make a difference in the lives of those who find themselves at a crossroads and unfamiliar circumstances. Learning about their condition and the options available have made a difference and improved the lives of many.

I have been a member of the board since November, 2014.  It has been a pleasure serving with my fellow board members.  Kevin Lindberg, Executive Director, and the staff are dedicated in providing services and support at a critical time of diagnosis, and consequently, treatment plans that improve the lives and health of people living with epilepsy. It is my pleasure to be a small part of what this organization does to assist those in need with a plan and purpose for their best health and future.

Thank You,

Julie Aranibar

Alternate textDONATE TODAY! 

We need your help!  Donations are always welcome and without them we would not be able to do the work that we do.  Your gift helps ensure our clients continue to receive critical medical attention including access to neurologists, diagnostic testing and assistance accessing medications as well as case management services and prevention and educational programs to the community at large. Here are current donation opportunities:


Louis and Gloria Flanzer Philanthropic Trust Matching Program:

The 2021 Flanzer Matching Gift Program will match any gift from $5 to $500 to Epilepsy Service of Southwest Florida. "Louis and Gloria Flanzer always believed in the goodness and generosity of people" said Eric Kaplan, co-trustee of the Flanzer Trust.  Please support Epilepsy Services by donating today. 
How to donate:

  • Click on the donate button and you will be directed to a page where you can pay either by PayPal or Credit card.
  • Type in the amount of your gift from $5 to $500. 
  • Designate Epilepsy Services of SWFL in the drop down menu at the bottom of the page to ensure your gift is directed to us.  
  • If you would like to make a donation by check, please make the check out to: The Louis & Gloria Flanzer Philanthropic Trust, 1843 Floyd Street, Sarasota, FL 34239 and indicate Epilepsy Services of Southwest Florida in the memo section.

Thank You! 


Prevention & Education Services

If you would like the Community Outreach Coordinator to come to your business, your club meeting or your office, please contact Barbara Coleman, Community Outreach Coordinator at bcoleman@esswfl.org or 941-953-5988, Ext. 316 for a free presentation.  Presentations can be done via Zoom to promote social-distancing. 
Barbara will be glad to train your staff on how to respond to someone having a seizure or just make an informative presentation about epilepsy – the fourth most common neurological disorder in the United States after migraine, stroke, and Alzheimer's disease.

About Us

The goal of Epilepsy Services of Southwest Florida is to assist in the process of empowering our patients toward self-management in order to lead as close to a normal life as possible.

Shop at Amazon Smile and support Epilepsy Services of Southwest Florida.

You can shop at Amazon Smile and the Amazon Smile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to our organization. Just select Epilepsy Services of Southwest Florida as your charitable organization.  You can use your Amazon account or set up an account at Amazon Smile.

We sincerely thank you for your consideration and support! 

For more info go to: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/chpf/homepage?orig=Lw==

Go to our website to learn more about our organization and take time to view our video:  epilepsy-services.org

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