Thursday, March 25, 2010

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.


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


  1. Dear Richard - Thank you for the lovely blog posting on Purple Day. When you have a chance, please check out our Ambassador program at - we'd love to have you apply.


    Michelle Caplan

    Partnership Executive
    Purple Day

  2. A wonderful post!!!! You have such a compassionate and generous heart! And I'm inspired by your commitment to others, to helping people become more aware of the suffering around them, and to showing them how to get involved! Hugs, Janine