By Lorraine Lally
I am writing to ask that we all come together to support those with epilepsy and those caring for others with epilepsy even while self–isolating at home.
Purple Day is an international grassroots effort dedicated to increasing awareness about epilepsy worldwide. It is held on March 26th annually. Iconic buildings around Ireland will be lighting up purple to mark the occasion and we are inviting people to wear purple in support of epilepsy awareness on this day. For people with epilepsy, there can be stigma attached. Epilepsy is often not discussed with friends and work colleagues. I know that for those living and working with epilepsy, there is fear of discrimination. For some of us, the fear of a seizure hangs over us with the condition.
We would like people to put #PurpleDay with the photos that they put up on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Epilepsy is the most common neurological condition in the world effecting the brain. The brain is made up of billions of nerve cells that communicate through electrical and chemical signals. Seizures cause a change in the functioning of the brain. A seizure may take many different forms, including a blank stare, muscle spasms, uncontrolled movements, altered awareness, odd sensations, or a convulsion.
Seizures can vary for each person and may occur rarely or as often as numerous times a day. If the condition is successfully controlled by medication, a person may be seizure free. Epilepsy is one of the most common chronic neurological disorders. An estimated 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy. Epilepsy can be present at any age, although its onset is most often in childhood or in the later years of life. Stress can be a trigger for seizures. It is important to remember to get out for a walk and exercise daily. For anyone seeking support and information, Epilepsy Ireland is unique in having community resource officers all over the country who are available on the phone and via email. For anyone seeking additional information, please do feel free to get in touch.
We would invite people to Share their story and encourage friends to follow/like Epilepsy Ireland’s Social Media channels. We are aware that people are self–isolating due to the current COVID 19 virus but join us in marking Purple Day.
A big thank you as always to the families and friends who are a constant support for those living with epilepsy. To the carers/parents in particular, who care for a family member, we want everyone to know that there is always support available. Belated Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers of those with epilepsy, in particular my mother Margaret and my aunt Chrissie in Sweden with her son Patrick.
We also have a Facebook Fundraiser for Purple Day at: https://www.facebook.com/donate/193073258802730/. For more information, please see the following link: https://www.epilepsy.ie/content/purple-day-support-our-campaign.