By guest columnist Allie Gianferrara
My experience with epilepsy started when I was ten years old. I was in the kitchen at the time. When I looked up, I saw my mother on the couch shaking. I called her name, but she didn’t answer. I woke my father who told me to wait in my room. My father later told me that my mother had had a seizure.
November 1st begins National Epilepsy Awareness Month, but what is epilepsy? Epilepsy is a disorder that causes nerve cell activity in the brain to be disturbed, which causes seizures. More people than you may think suffer from this disorder. “Epilepsy impacts my everyday life. I have to monitor what I eat and do,” parent and epileptic Julie Gianferrara said.
Epilepsy is not something you can see on the outside because it’s a disorder of the brain. When your brain reacts to external stimuli, the brain waves move. But for an epileptic person, their brain waves are constantly reacting, always moving and that can cause seizures.
People who have epilepsy must take everything into consideration, such as dietary needs and how much sleep they get. Every day is a different experience, whether that be good or bad. One day can be calm and peaceful and the next chaotic. Did you know that one in 500 people die from unexpected and uncontrolled seizures, according to the National Center for Biotechnology?
Maybe you don’t know anyone with this disorder, but you want to help. There are so many things you can do. You can raise awareness or donate to support new therapies and find a cure. Informational websites such as advocacy.epilepsy.com can be a good place to learn more about helping. In the month of November, you can wear a purple ribbon or other piece of clothing to show your support. Please talk to friends and family and help inform others.
I am raising awareness by verbally informing others of epilepsy. During the month of November, I will be wearing a purple ribbon to raise awareness.