Woodinville High School students showed up for class dressed in purple on Thursday this week, all for a good cause.
November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month. In 2003, Congress declared this formally, but the Epilepsy Foundation has recognized it since 1969. This year, students at Woodinville started participating.
In Woodinville High’s leadership class, students make posters and spread the word about causes or events around the school. Previously, they have made posters for Veterans Day and Breast Cancer Awareness. The idea of keeping the students informed and proactive is how Epilepsy Awareness Day at Woodinville began.
“There are a lot of diseases that people don’t think about, and I think epilepsy is one of them. I’m glad we are able to shed light on more of an unknown cause,” said student Haley Conklin.
In addition to posters, students created a Facebook group to reach as many people as possible. With 366 members in the group, student Stephanie Benipal was expecting a lot of people to participate on Thursday.
“It was nice to see students show up in purple. I think it reflects nicely on our school, and shows that students here really care and want to make a difference,” said Benipal.
According to the Epilepsy Foundation, epilepsy is “a medical condition that produces seizures affecting a variety of mental and physical functions. It’s also called a seizure disorder.” Seizures occur when a surge of electrical activity affects the brain. Seizures vary in length and have different symptoms, including blank staring or jerking movements in the legs and arms.
Nationally, the Epilepsy Foundation has partnered with 50 other organizations to raise awareness for epilepsy this month. With a slogan to “get seizure smart,” the goal is to educate the public. Sticking to this slogan, students are educating other students in the same way. They are doing their part by wearing purple and creating a voice for epilepsy.
According to Dr. Brien Smith, chair of the Epilepsy Foundation’s board of directors, one in every 10 Americans has had, or will have a seizure in their lifetime. This could be a single seizure, but once a person has had two or more unprovoked seizures, they are considered to have epilepsy.
Eariler this month, the Northwest Epilepsy Foundation held a conference in Seattle. Phillip M. Gattone, president and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation of America, was the keynote speaker. The conference was meant to provide information from medical and community professionals who work to serve families facing epilepsy. The whole month was dedicated to educating people about the disease.
The conference is one of many events scheduled for the next year in the name of epilepsy awareness and fundraising. On Feb. 9, the Light the Flame Dinner Auction will be held at the Grand Hyatt in Seattle.
For more information on this and other events, visit www.epilepsynw.org/resources/upcoming-events.