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Purple Day– Global Day of Epilepsy Awareness

I will never forget the night my brother Brian died.  It was the middle of the night and my mom was screaming.  I got up to see what was wrong and she was rocking back and forth on her bed holding my brother who was blue and screaming over and over “my baby, my baby.”  Brian had suffered a seizure.

I ran to my neighbors for help and the fire department came right away.  Medically, Brian had died.  He’d stopped breathing and had no heartbeat, but the firefighters kept working on him anyway and miraculously, he came back to us.

That was when Brian was just a toddler and I’m happy to say that Brian hasn’t had another seizure since he was a little kid.  Brian is now 28 years old and healthier than  most of us.

Epilepsy is a very serious illness and it makes my blood boil when kids and even adults tease those with it.  I think part of the reason for the ignorance is just that, ignorance.  People with epilepsy aren’t any different than you and I except that they’ve got something that sometimes makes their bodies do strange things. They’re not stupid.  They’re not blind and they’re not deaf.  When mocked, they can hear and see everything.  And it hurts.

Epilepsy is a neurological condition, which affects the nervous system. Epilepsy is also known as a seizure disorder. It’s usually diagnosed after a person has had at least two seizures that were not caused by some known medical condition like alcohol withdrawal, extremely low blood sugar, heart problems or some other medical condition.

Seizures are a symptom of something going on in the brain. Seizures seen in epilepsy are caused by disturbances in the electrical activity of the brain. The seizures in epilepsy may be related to a brain injury or a family tendency, but most of the time the cause is unknown.

If you’d like to show support for those who live with epilepsy and help break down some of the walls of misunderstanding, I’d like to invite you to join me in wearing purple on Purple Day.

Purple Day is an international grassroots effort dedicated to increasing awareness about epilepsy worldwide. On March 26th this and every year, people in countries all around the world sport purple to raise epilepsy awareness.

And if you’d like to be armed with some facts about epilepsy when you wear purple on  Purple Day, here you go:

  • Approximately 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime.
  • At least 1 in every 10 people will have one seizure in their lifetime.
  • There are approximately 65 million people around the world living with epilepsy.
  • There are more than 300,000 Canadians living with epilepsy.
  • There are approximately 2.2 million Americans living with epilepsy.
  • Epilepsy is NOT contagious. Epilepsy is NOT a disease. Epilepsy is NOT a psychological disorder.
  • There is currently no “cure” for epilepsy. However, for 10-15% of people with epilepsy, the surgical removal of the seizure focus – the part of brain where the person’s seizures start – can eliminate all seizure activity. For more than half of people with epilepsy, medication will control their seizures. Additionally, some children will outgrow their epilepsy and some adults may have a spontaneous remission.
First Aid Chart care of Edmonton Epilepsy Association

Sources: Epilepsy Foundation, Purple Day

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