Seize the Seizures


Dawson Pierson and Rebecca Bazzell , Staff Writer

November is a busy month. The leaves change colors, everyone gets excited about Thanksgiving, and it’s National Peanut Butter month! With all these fun events that take place many look past Epilepsy awareness month. Many have never even heard of Epilepsy, and the ones that have normally think of the tonic-clonic seizures where a person falls over and convulses, but Epilepsy is much more than that. So, what is this disease? Medical News Today describes Epilepsy as “an overload of electronic activity in the brain that causes temporary disturbances in the brain cells, causing that person to have recurrent seizures also known as episodes or fits.”

There are many forms of Epilepsy, and there are many reasons why Epilepsy occurs in the body. Epilepsy is a very complex subject, and even if you don’t know a single thing about Epilepsy or the affects it can have, you can still help make a positive change to the Epileptic Community.

It was scary, I’d be running around outside or eating at the dinner table, then suddenly it would all become  a haze, I would just stop. My mind would go blank and I’d be unresponsive for a couple of minutes. Then when I come back, I’d have no memory of what just happened.”

— Kat Smith

How, you might ask? There are many ways you can get involved in the wonderful life changing work of the Epilepsy Foundation. A few ways are to Donate to support the cause.  Join Athletes vs. Epilepsy to play or race and fundraise in support of discovering new therapies for people living with Epilepsy. Join Speak Up, Speak Out a public gathering to raise awareness, or if public speaking isn’t your thing, you can also post videos, photos, and stories on Talk About It. There are also national events like the National Walk for Epilepsy that you can sign up and participate in, and even a simple Subscription to their  eNewsletter or Joining Facebook, Twitter, or  Google + can change lives.

Since hockey and football are two sports where brain injuries and seizures occur most, during November, teams all across the country bust out their purple gear. Hockey teams wear purple jerseys and put purple tape on there sticks. Some football players wear purple helmets or sweat bands. In fact, last year during November, Minnesota’s football team showed their support by adding a purple banner that said EPILEPSY AWARENESS across the front of their helmets.

However, the Epilepsy awareness and support doesn’t end with the sports world. Many celebrities have gone on record and spoken about their personal struggle with Epilepsy. Some famous celebrities and historical figures who have suffered from Epilepsy include Prince, Lil Wayne, Elton John, Amy Lee, Theodore Roosevelt, Edger Allen Poe, George Watsky, Alexander the Great, Vincent Van Gogh, Charles Dickens, and many more.

The Epilepsy Foundation says, “One third of people with Epilepsy live with uncontrolled seizures. This Foundation works to ensure the field of seizure research remains vibrant, innovative and enduring. The Foundation dedicates its research efforts toward bringing new clinicians into the field; funding new therapies that will bring change in treatment and management for people with Epilepsy in a time frame that matters; and last but not least encouraging exploration of key issues.”

To better understand the mindset of someone with Epilepsy, GHW asked Kat Smith, a sophomore at GCHS, to speak about her struggles with her case of Absence Epilepsy growing up. Being diagnosed at the age of five, she dealt with the illness for 10 years. Kat was told in April of this year that she was finally Epilepsy free.

“It was scary,” she states, “I’d be running around outside or eating at the dinner table, then suddenly it would all become a haze, I would just stop. My mind would go blank and I’d be unresponsive for a couple of minutes. Then when I come back, I’d have no memory of what just happened.”

“My mother has been an Epileptic since she was only a few months old,” stated Ethan Bazzell, a senior at Granite High. “Being related to someone with Epilepsy is very difficult but I can’t imagine how my mom feels. You honestly learn how long 30 seconds can be when you’re holding a loved one sezing in your arms, hoping they will come through. “

Many lives have been affected by Epilepsy, Including many within our own community. The amount of lives touched by this frightening diseases is more common than most think. In fact, The Epilepsy Foundation says, “1 in 26 people will develop Epilepsy at a point in their lives.” So why not get involved in the Epileptic community and help search for a cure today!