Transforming stigma to acceptance: Meet @jakedduck1

Jul 26, 2019 | John, Volunteer Mentor | @johnbishop | Comments (36)

Member Spotlights feature interviews with fellow Connect members. Learn more about members you’ve connected with and some you haven’t met yet. Nominate a member you think should share the spotlight.

2019.7.19. @jakedduck1 Leonard Connect member spotlight image

JOHN: What brought you to Connect? What motivates you to take part in the community?

@jakedduck1: I’ve always known about Mayo Clinic, but a few years back I was going to have shoulder replacement surgery in New York City, and the doctor wanted me to go to Mayo for a neurological evaluation for seizures. Ultimately, the doctor felt I was high-risk and refused to operate. So, I never went to Mayo, but I saw Connect when looking up Mayo Clinic. Later, I was looking for something about epilepsy and noticed an epilepsy question. So I joined and gave my 2 cents worth of advice. 

JOHN: What about Connect makes you feel comfortable to share, to be open with the community?

@jakedduck1: The acceptance by other members on Connect is very important and is what makes me feel most comfortable. In the ‘60s when I developed epilepsy, there were no support groups or forums available. I didn’t know anyone who had epilepsy. The stigma was bad then, and people didn’t talk so openly about it. When you see how open others are now about their illnesses and problems, I believe it makes everyone more at ease and feel better about sharing, knowing people want to help. I feel motivated to try and help if I can, and by me being open, I hope it helps others to see there is no shame or reason to be embarrassed. My main goal here is to help get rid of the stigma, shame, embarrassment, rejection and fears associated with epilepsy, but other illnesses, as well, and try to help people to be all that they can be. 

JOHN: What groups do you participate in?


About Kids & Teens
Autoimmune Diseases
Bones, Joints & Muscles
Brain & Nervous System
Brain Tumor
Depression & Anxiety
Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT)
Epilepsy & Seizures
Healthy Living
Men’s Health

I also follow the About Connect: Who, What & Why, Blood Donor Program and Mayo Clinic Champions pages on Connect.

JOHN: Who has been a special connection for you on Connect?

@jakedduck1: The Epilepsy & Seizures group and all the members there having had epilepsy for 52 years I can relate to many of their problems. 

@brightwings sent me a private message early on and welcomed me. @becsbuddy has been a rock to me in the Caregivers group. However, I don’t mean to diminish anyone’s contribution. I’m eternally grateful for everything everyone has said. You “kids” have truly kept me going. 

I enjoy communicating with @lioness  — we can tease each other — and @imallears, one of my cooking coaches. Although she has excellent suggestions, I’m afraid I’m a lost cause in the kitchen and as a domestic engineer. I like what Phyllis Diller said, “Housework won’t kill you, but why take the chance?”  

I agree. Better safe than sorry, and I’m very safe!

JOHN: What surprised you the most about Connect?

@jakedduck1: The kindness and helpfulness of Connect director Colleen Young. I like that she is such an active participant, and the fact that she and the team are open to suggestions from members on ways that may improve Connect even more. I had a few rough spots; she helped guide me through. I thought she might kick me off Connect, but instead she supported me, giving welcome guidance. 

JOHN: What energizes you, or how do you find balance in your life?

@jakedduck1: Most important would be my faith. Also, I believe it’s necessary to give of yourself to family, friends and the community. I volunteered at the YMCA, at the county hospital in billing, did crime analysis at the police department, and worked in a homeless shelter and other places. 

Although difficult at times, it makes me feel good caring for my mother and being able to give a little back, except when I have to go through the drudgery of cooking or being in the kitchen for whatever reason. I helped care for my Dad, who was paralyzed, until he passed away in 1987. My parents were awesome and gave up so much taking care of me. I donate platelets at the Red Cross every two weeks, and most of mine go to cancer patients.

JOHN: Tell us about your favorite pastime or activity.

@jakedduck1: Travel in the U.S. I love Mt. Shasta. It’s my favorite mountain. I sit and admire it for hours. I want to visit the East Coast, starting in New England. I usually stay close to home, as California has so much to see and do, and the ocean, mountains and desert are relatively close. I’m not much of a gambler, but I enjoy Las Vegas, about seven hours away. I love zoos. Visiting the San Diego Zoo is on my to-do list.

JOHN: Do you have a favorite quote, life motto or personal mantra?

@jakedduck1: There are so many, it’s impossible to choose, except for the first one:

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
“The only person we need to be better than is the person we were yesterday.”
“We need to make someone happy today, and we need to start with ourselves.”

JOHN: What do you appreciate the most in your friends?

@jakedduck1: Most of them are gone now, but unquestionably that they feed me, which comes in handy since I find my kitchen so abhorrent. They are honest, loyal, kind and overly generous. They always include me in their family functions. They come to my rescue whenever I need them.

JOHN: What food can you simply not resist?

@jakedduck1: Candy, although Reese’s is a favorite. I seldom have them anymore, since eating one full of almond moth larvae (check bottom before eating). See’s candies are my favorite, especially See’s Bordeaux.

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@jakedduck1 My mother loved See's vanilla creams, and Hershey's milk chocolate with almonds. She had a bar of that every night. If you wanted to get on her good side you got her a pound of Week's. My sister is a chocoholic, and wants the fanciest around. I myself do not like it [Good thing since it is not allowed on renal diet!]. On another note, we will get to see My. Shasta on Wed as we pass by on way to new home!

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@gingerw What an exciting time to be moving into a new home . Putting items where you want and the pleasure of when it is done . Travel safe


Hi Chris,
If you have a secret how to make Bordeaux or any candy last I’d love to hear it. My Mom can eat one piece a day. Back in the day I would go visit my Grandparents in Mt. Shasta and I would take a pound of See’s for her and a pound for me. We’d lay on her bed and talk and eat it till it was gone looking out at the mountain. Wonderful times.

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@jakedduck, I can do better about the Bordeaux dosage plan if I can't see it….sort of out of sight, out of mind. That works except for the 2-year-old box that I forgot all about after hiding it in the medicine cabinet. What a loss! Do you get the big Bordeaux eggs at Easter? Keep smiling….and have some joy today. Chris


Placed my Prudy’s order. That stuff don’t come cheap. My order will ship Wed and should arrive the following Friday. Wish they had a list and explanation of every piece they make. I didn’t see it on the site. Thank you for mentioning it.
In Santa Cruz, Ca there is an excellent candy store.
Ever been there Erin?
The chocolate covered bacon is scrumptious as are the chocolate covered apricots and Carmel’s and fudge and taffy and and and, I’m losing control.
I’ll order some from here when I reach my goal of 145 pounds, 17 more to go. Then a bunch of candy and a root beer float and a cheesecake with a Dr. Pepper. I may not be skinny long but I’ll sure be happy, at least temporarily.

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@jakedduck1 Yes, it is pricey but good. I've never purchased it myself, my neighbor goes back and forth to Canada and I take in her mail, etc. and she brings it as a thank-you gift. Good gift! I hope you enjoy your order. Thanks for the info on the candy stores in Santa Cruz. I'll have to check out those websites.


@jakedduck1 — Thank you for sharing and letting us get to know you a little better!! You are not alone when it comes to eating candy without checking it ☺
Hope you have a great Friday!

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I echo everyone’s sentiments when I say how much I enjoyed reading about you and how open and honest you were. Several things jumped out at me. Despite not being in the best of health you went out of your way to participate in the community…well ..actually to participate in life; your obvious sense of humor and desire to explore new places but most of all you love and compassion for your parents. I am at the receiving end of that love and compassion from my children and their families and, even though I don’t personally need any assistance, I know how much your mom appreciates your care. You said your parents were awesome growing up..well it sounds like you’re pretty awesome too.

I would love to be your neighbor so I could visit and bust your chops while occasionally bringing over a home cooked meal. Note the word “occasionally “ Jake. You make me laugh virtually and I bet you are a hoot in person.

So now I have to check my one piece of chocolate every night for bug larvae? For that piece of yucky information you are banished to the kitchen for an hour.

Regards from FL Mary


Hi John,
Not sure if you thought up the title or not but I like it. That’s my purpose, to help rid the world of stigmas. I hope I can get a few people to be a little kinder and a bit more strict understanding. No medical condition should have a stigma but sadly many still do. I dream of the day when they will be a thing of the past. My first and most hurtful stigma experience happened 48 years ago and unfortunately it’s as clear today as it was then. I have forgotten so much, why must I remember that?
I’ve already checked out Prudy’s and will be ordering some, our little secret.
My username, I use to mow a friends lawn and every week there would be a duck beanie baby on the patio. The ducks name is Jake. I was going for
Jaketheduck but that wasn’t available so jakedduck. Yes I love 🦆 duckies, to watch and feed. My brother said we each had a duck but I don’t remember those days. I love dogs and cats but would love to have a duck.
Thanks for your kind words.
So, what’s on the New Year’s Day menu Linda, besides sauerkraut and sausage(?) I forgot what kind of meat.
Be sure to check your candy. Almond moth larvae is awful.

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@jakedduck1 Hi Leonard, I’ve never told you the number of times you’ve made me smile with your posts; especially the ones about……wait… it comes…… cooking!!!! You were clearly put here to make others happy. Thanks!!!………Karen


Bordeaux of course!

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