Who is Charlie Shor?

Charlie Shor’s life story is the stuff of novels. But Charlie is a real person, and today he offers hope and practical solutions for people diagnosed with epilepsy.

At the age of 23, the driven young man was already being groomed to take the helm of Duro Bag, a paper bag manufacturing company his father founded decades before.

Little did Charlie know that two years later, the course of his life would change forever.

Charlie was getting off a plane in Manhattan, NY in 1979 when he had his first seizure.

He had no idea what happened or why, and was left bewildered and dazed.

More seizures came along at the most unexpected times, almost daily. Finally, Charlie was diagnosed with epilepsy.

At the time, there was no cure and no understanding of what might provoke a seizure. He was simply prescribed medication – with horrible side effects – and sent on his way with no answers. No explanation. No hope.

More frequent epileptic seizures

Despite these setbacks, Charlie did not let epilepsy slow him down. But life soon became more difficult. At 28, Charlie was kidnapped and buried in a pit for almost two days before narrowly escaping. He believes that additional trauma led to increased epileptic seizures.

Soon after, Charlie later took over as president of Duro Bag, and the pressures of the business were unrelenting. Plastic bags had just come on the scene, and the company’s livelihood was in jeopardy. Charlie shouldered the responsibility of stabilizing Duro Bag as it struggled to compete. Eventually, he steered the organization to grow into the largest paper bag manufacturer in the world.

All the while, the stress continued and his health suffered.

Charlie successfully led Duro Bag until 2014. That’s when he started the Charles L. Shor Foundation and shifted his vision, energy and efforts to funding epilepsy research.

Treatment beyond medication

Charlie asked his doctor a simple question that would transform the focus of research as we know it today. “Many people are already researching medications and surgeries for epilepsy. Would you be willing to initiate a study that looks beyond medication or surgery?”

Dr. Najm was immediately interested. He understood the potential to impact millions of lives with this new focus, and responded, “I’ve never been challenged like you are challenging me here,” and agreed to spearhead the initiative.

Charlie has initially committed $5.5 million to fund the landmark study to examine different ways that non-pharmaceutical efforts can help others with epilepsy.

Specifically, the research will look at the effect of health optimization — particularly stress relief — on seizure control, as well as memory preservation and restoration among a group of 1,000 patients whose epilepsy is difficult to treat.

The primary goals will be to find new ways to fully control seizures using alternative non-pharmacologic interventions, to improve and prevent memory decline in patients with epilepsy, and to organize international conferences that spread the word about these non-pharmacologic stress control interventions and their effects on both seizure control and memory function.

“Through this research, I’m hopeful that when someone has a seizure, they’ll first take a look at what’s happening in their life before they look at taking medicine,” Charlie said.

Dr. Najm’s is optimistic the study will help researchers discover approaches that will transform the lives of people living with epilepsy. That would be the greatest reward of all, he said.

Epilepsy Wellness Advocates

Charlie would go on to found Epilepsy Wellness Advocates. A medically backed, data-driven, research-based community that produces tools and resources to improve the quality of life for those dealing with epilepsy in one form or another.
Epilepsy Wellness Advocates is privately funded to ensure agnostic approaches for patients, free of ties to any specific organization.

Blue Collar Dollar Institute

Charlie also founded The Blue Collar Dollar Institute. This orginzation aims to understand how the United States’ decision to subsidize foreign manufacturing is decreasing the size of our middle class, increasing the amount of Americans in poverty and catapulting forward the wealth in both the top 5% and foreign competitors.