Des Plaines, IL – Dr. N. Karen Thames is the founder and Executive Director of The EPIC Foundation, Empowering People with Invisible Chronic Illness, a 501(c)3, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing support to empower those affected by chronic illnesses.
Dr. Thames was compelled to establish this non-profit three years ago because of her own experiences living with chronic illness and surviving a rare life-threatening illness.
In 2006, Dr. Thames mysteriously gained 30 pounds in 30 days. Over the next year-and-a-half, she would gain 150 lbs. Eventually, she found out that she had Cushing’s Disease.
Cushing’s Disease is known as “the fat disease” for its rapid, unexplainable and excessive weight gain. Cushing’s is caused by a tumor on the pituitary located on the base of the brain, which triggers the adrenal glands to pump cortisol. Excess cortisol in the body translates into steroids, which results in physical symptoms.
Cushing’s is diagnosed for one to three in every million people. Doctors are told in medical school they'll probably never see a case of Cushing's in their lifetime.
“Women need to realize that we are the most important part of our medical team,” says Dr. Thames. “We are the person who decides who will be allowed in that circle. Doctors are consultants. I grew to learn that from myself and it empowered me.
Empowerment is also increasing awareness to others, including loved ones. That’s why Dr. Thames launched The EPIC Foundation.
“I wanted it to be a place where people can go and be validated in this emotional experience that they have with the journey,” says Dr. Thames. “Together, we are EPIC!”
For more information, visit www.epictogether.org