At our local farmer’s market on Saturday, Talia and I chatted with purple-clad people promoting Purple Day for Epilepsy. Amazingly, this worldwide awareness today was founded by a young girl — Cassidy Megan from Nova Scotia. Living with epilepsy, she wanted others with the same condition to feel less alone. And she wanted to increase support and awareness.
In honour of Cassidy and Purple Day, here are a few facts about epilepsy:
- It affects about one in every 100 people.
- It is the second most common neurological disorder after migraine.
- 70% of people with epilepsy can have their seizures controlled with medication.
- Onset can begin at any age. But the highest rates are in childhood or after age 65.
And a few facts about what it is not:
- Epilepsy is not contagious.
- It is not a psychological disorder.
I also know that many individuals on the autism spectrum can develop epilepsy. According to the manual, Living with ASD: Adolescence and Beyond (Autism Ontario, 2006), “an estimated 30 to 50% of children with ASD with no previous history of seizures may develop epilepsy around the age of puberty.” It goes on to explain that seizures can take many forms. It may appear, for example, as a brief stare or as unsual body movements.
So, hats off to a young Canadian girl who has spearheaded a worldwide awareness day. Time to show off your best purple outfit and to spread the word.
Photo by -JosephB- via Flickr