Epilepsy Awareness Day
March 26 is Global Epilepsy Awareness Day, or “ Purple Day.” Though there is no cure for epilepsy, you can play a part in raising awareness – just wear purple on Purple Day, March 26.
Did you know that an estimated 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a seizure disorder and one of the most common neurological disorders that is often offset in childhood. According to the World Health Organization, epilepsy is a chronic, noncommunicable disorder of the brain that affects people of all ages, and races. Often there is no clear identifiable cause.
Epilepsy is the most common chronic neurological disorder in children. The Neurosciences Program at BC Children’s Hospital is the chief referral centre for pediatric neurological conditions in BC and one of the major pediatric neurosurgical units in Canada. They perform approximately 300 neurosurgical operations every year, including epilepsy surgery.
If someone is having a seizure
The BC Epilepsy Society states that one in 12 people will experience at least one seizure in their lifetime. Being prepared to assist someone in the middle of a seizure could effectively save that person’s life.
If you’re in the company of someone who suffers an epileptic seizure, there are many ways to help:
- Remain calm
- Protect the person from getting hurt
- remove objects that might cause injury
- loosen anything tight around this person’s neck
- cushion their head
- remove their glasses
- Gently turn them to their side as soon as it is safe
- Stay with them until they become fully conscious again
- Comfort them and explain what happened
Epilepsy is not an easy thing to live with, something that Miracle Kid Matthew Williams knows all too well. When Matthew was just three months old he was diagnosed as epileptic, suffering from four different types of seizures. By the time he was six, Matthew was suffering from epileptic seizures up to a hundred times a day.
After undergoing surgery to remove the cyst in his brain that was causing his seizures, Matthew is now nearly seizure-free. Matthew lives by his own personal mantra of "Even though we have a disability, we can accomplish so many great things." He has gone on to win gold and silver medals at Special Olympics events and was elected to the Board of Directors for Special Olympics International, the top governing authority for the Special Olympics movement.