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WATCH: Surrey lights up purple for Epilepsy Awareness Day

4 minute read
WATCH: Surrey lights up purple for Epilepsy Awareness Day

Published at 1:38pm 25th March 2019. (Updated at 2:53pm 26th March 2019)

Parts of Surrey have been lit up purple for a week to raise awareness of Epilepsy.

The Meath, which cares for people with complex epilepsy, is spearheading a local campaign which will see buildings in Guildford, Godalming and Cranleigh shining purple every night this week.

The 125 year old charity, which is based in Godalming in a landmark manor house, is taking part in International Epilepsy Awareness Day on March 26, otherwise known as Purple Day.

The colour purple is used to represent epilepsy because of its association with lavender, which was used to treat seizures in the days before medication.

In the UK, over 600,000 people are living with epilepsy - equivalent to roughly one in every 103 people - yet it is often misunderstood and even stigmatised. 

The Meath describes epilepsy as "a tendency to experience recurrent seizures".

A seizure occurs as a result of a sudden ‘extra’ burst of electrical activity in the brain causing temporary interference and jumbling up the messages sent out to the rest of the body. 

There are many different types of seizure and people are affected differently.

While in some cases there is an obvious cause such as a head injury or a stroke, it is not clear why people develop the condition. 

It is treated  with ‘anti-epileptic’ drugs or ‘AEDs’ which help reduce or stop seizures.

Many people who use The Meath's services have additional disabilities associated with severe epilepsy.

One of those is 50 year old Regan, who has had epilepsy since she was a toddler.

She has reiterated the call for greater awareness - telling Eagle how she continues to face ignorance:

"They say something very nasty or look at you - stare at you.

"It feels quite horrible actually, when people don't realise what epilepsy is all about."

Helen Jackson, who is The Meath's Marketing Coordinator, says there is still a need for greater awareness:

"It (epilepsy) is still something that people are a bit scared of.

"You can't see it - epilepsy is of course an unseen condition, it happens in the brain, and therefore it is all too easy to ignore it." 

She said they are hoping this year's local campaign, which also includes various fundraising events, will help get people's attention "and literally bring light to an unseen condition."

Epilepsy The Meath Purple day
Helen Jackson and Meath resident Regan

The Meath's campaign kicked off on Sunday in Godalming town centre, when the landmark Pepperpot building and HIgh Street were 'yarn-bombed' with 4,000 knitted purple hearts, made by residents at the Meath, school children, Farncombe Day Centre, local WI groups, church groups and a knitting group at HMP Send, some of whom have themselves been affected by the condition, which a staff member says "is largely due to trauma sustained during head injury."

Meath Epilepsy Purple day Pepperpot

Other events include, among others, a purple day makeover for the infamous Compton phone box, including handmade purple crocuses, the Meath choir singing 'Purple Rain' accompanied by St Hilary's school choir, and a flash mob.

Tania Cantoni, Head of Fundraising & Communications commented on how the community has got involved:

“We’re overwhelmed with the level of support that we’ve received for Purple Day! So many local businesses, community groups and individuals have all done something to raise awareness of epilepsy while also raising funds for the Meath”. 

guildhall purple day epilepsyThe Guildhall

 

guildford fire station purple epilepsy
Guildford Fire Station. Photo: Ian Lee
Guildford Friary purple epilepsy
Guildford Friary. Photo: Ian Lee
GLive purple epilepsy
G Live. Photo: Ian Lee
pepper pot purple epilepsy
The Pepperpot, Godalming. Photo: Ian Lee

 

 

 

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