Thursday, March 26, 2009

Purple Day - Epilepsy Awareness

Purple Day was started in 2008, by nine-year-old Cassidy Megan of Nova Scotia, Canada. It is an international grassroots effort dedicated to increasing awareness about epilepsy worldwide. On March 26, people from around the globe are asked to wear purple and spread the word about epilepsy.

Epilepsy affects over 50 million people worldwide. That's more than multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson's disease combined.

When I was a boy I suffered from a mild form of epilepsy. I had episodes called petit mals. A petit mal seizure is the term commonly given to a staring spell, most commonly called an "absence seizure." It is a brief (usually less than 15 seconds) disturbance of brain function due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain. I had no idea that other people did not experience them. I could feel them coming on and knew to sit down or hold on to something for a few seconds.

School Photo

The first time that my Mother witnessed one of my petit mals she was very scared. I guess that my eyes rolled back in my head. I knew that for those few seconds that I could not see, but did not know that my eyes rolled back. I didn't think that it was a big deal, but we had to see the doctor as soon as possible. The doctors were able to control the petit mals with medication, and told me that I would most likely outgrow them by the time I was 20. Fortunately I did, and was taken off of the medication by the time I was 18 or 19.

The main reason for my Purple Day Epilepsy Awareness post is because of my blog friend Michele over at Rocky Mountain Retreat Photography. Take a look at her blog and you will see some of the most outstanding photography you will find anywhere. I always enjoy her blog. Michele is an excellent photographer, but she battles epilepsy and suffers from tonic clonic (gran mal) seizures.

Michele says that she has been suffering seizures since she was a young person. People with seizures often suffer more from the attitudes of those around them than from the seizures itself. Michele is in my prayers daily as she battles the seizures.

Please take the time to learn more about this condition that affects over 50 million people worldwide. Based on recent surveys, The Center For Disease Control estimates that nearly 2.5 million people in the United States have epilepsy, with 150,000 developing the condition each year.

For answers to questions frequently asked about epilepsy and seizures go here.


I am very involved in my local Relay For Life. You can view my Relay For Life Blog here.


  1. I haven't been back to you for quite a while, and am always sorry that I've missed so much. Indeed, epilepsy is something we should all be aware of. I remember once in a bus here there was a young man who had some sort of very brief seizure, then returned to himself and seemed not to have been aware of what had happened.

  2. I had a neighbor who had epilepsy when I was a kid...very scary for a 10 year old to see a seizure.

  3. Thank you for this post. I had not heard of Purple Day. You are right. I think too that it must be more difficult to deal with people who don't understand than to deal with the actual seizure.
    Back when I was young, I used to work with youth that had physical and mental difficulties and seizures was a common ailment.

    And thank you for you stories about Skye. I love her name. The spelling is beautiful. It is fun to listen to you think back to when she was a pup and had her ears up and down. Kekoa isstarting to hold one up about half way and it cracks me up. My mom has a cairn/poodle mix and she loves her to pieces.
    Blessings to you today.

  4. This was a great post for purple day. I'm glad that you outgrew your seizures and had such a matter of fact idea about them as a child. On another subject, I noticed your post below with J for Judith. My daughter's name is Judith.

  5. Great post,... I'm so glad you outgrew your seizures. It looks like a lot of us supported Purple Day and Michele, and the many more people who struggle every day with epilepsy. Oh yes,... I have a daughter Judith, too! I'll be back again!

  6. A very worthy cause. I hope it succeeds and gets world-wide.

  7. Lovely! Wonderful this day has been spread for Michele by so many of us who care about her. And this day obviously has even more meaning to you.

  8. I thank you, my friend, for the lovely words. Your support is greatly appreciated.
    For you to actually have experienced Epilepsy as a young man makes you even more personally aware of how important this cause is; to get out the word of Epilepsy and seizure awareness.

    I am so relieved that you are no longer suffering from the seizures and by reading your story, gives me hope that I too, one day, will become seizure free. It is my goal.

    With friends like you giving me the strength through these posts, and through your prayers, I know I can do it!
    Thank you so much and please know how much I am appreciated of this.
    Many hugs to you and your family!♥

  9. How wonderful that Purple Day has brought so many bloggers together! I'm glad to have found your blog.

  10. Great purple post! Michele is the best!