Seven-year-old Launceston Church Grammar School student Eleanor Crooks will be donning a purple mask and cape, and her classmates will be sporting purple hair and wristbands, to mark Purple Day for Epilepsy.
Epilepsy Tasmania is encouraging people to better understand the condition and to show their support for friends and colleagues living with epilepsy by supporting Purple Day for Epilepsy Awareness on 26 March. Other events will also be held throughout the state during March.
A media opportunity has been organised where you can photograph or film Eleanor and her classmates at Launceston Grammar School, 10 Lyttleton St, East Launceston, on Monday, 19 March at 10.30am.
Epilepsy is a diverse family of disorders comprising many seizure types. Eleanor experiences absence seizures, Epilepsy Tasmania chief executive office Tony Chapman explained.
“Absence seizures are abrupt and result in a sudden impairment of consciousness and interruption of ongoing activities, and the person is usually unresponsive when spoken to,” Mr Chapman said.
“People with absence seizures, like Elle, might exhibit a blank stare and, possibly, a brief upward rotation of the eyes, jerking movements or collapsing. An attack lasts from a few seconds to half a minute and stops as rapidly as it commenced,” he added.
Absence seizures can occur a few times a day or, in some cases, hundreds of times a day, to the point that the person cannot concentrate at school or in other situations requiring sustained attention.
Epilepsy Tasmania would like to launch a new support group in Launceston in April for parents of children with epilepsy. If you would like to be involved please contact Epilepsy Tasmania to register your interest.
The organisation is also now an official partner of The Tea Room, an international online chat group for teenagers with epilepsy. Those interested in the Tea Room should contact Epilepsy Tasmania to gain access.
Epilepsy is a common condition with up to 400,000 Australians living with epilepsy, yet data from Epilepsy Australia and Epilepsy Foundation of Victoria national epilepsy longitudinal study has found that people often face prejudice from the community and employers. Purple Month aims to dispel some of these prejudices and educate the community about epilepsy.