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Purple Pumpkin Project brings awareness to epilepsy disorder

Purple Pumpkin Project.PNG
Posted at 4:43 PM, Oct 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-01 17:53:42-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — National Epilepsy Awareness Month isn't until November, but the Epilepsy Foundation of Central and South Texas (EFCST) are getting a head start.

The Purple Pumpkin Project is aimed at bringing more awareness to those who are dealing with epilepsy.

“Ultimate thing is we want to end the stigma," Amber Sizer said, chief development officer of EFCST. "End epilepsy would be nice, but to end the stigma.”

Now that pumpkins are starting to pop up all over the place, you’re going to start seeing some purple ones.

It’s OK to ask someone why their pumpkin is purple, because that’s how the Epilepsy Foundation is bringing awareness to this disorder.

“People are not as aware of it as we would hope," said Sizer. "And so, last year we had a purple pumpkin painting decorating party, here in San Antonio. "It was a great opportunity to share what it’s all about.”

Sizer said one in 26 people will be diagnosed with epilepsy. One in 10 people will have a seizure.

Lorren Tankersley and her daughter Emma live with epilepsy. They hope the purple pumpkins will teach people more about it.

“A seizure is not where you just — its not the only one where you just fall on the floor and you convulse, we know we see in movies," said Lorren.

"My daughter was having seven different types of seizures, and was on 12 different medications to control each one. She would have some where she would like she was kind of nodding off. Those were seizures. She would have some where she would just catapult backwards and she would hit her head. There were some where she would just blink a lot."

Lorren said she has been fortunate enough to be seizure free for 10 years. Emma started experiencing them when she was 2-years-old.

“Then after about 5 months, she slowly progressed and started having upwards of 300 plus seizures a day," Lorren said. "Our life has revolved around doctors. Now she’s getting infusions that have helped her actually to become seizure free.”

Come the time for trick or treating and you see a purple pumpkin, you can start a conversation or it could be a heads up.

"Maybe they go to a house that has a purple pumpkin on the doorstep," said Sizer. "That lets the family know that there won't be any strobe lights, there won't be anybody opening the door and jumping out screaming, there won't be flashing lights. Just the overall sense that it's a safe space."

EFCST covers 79 counties and provides free services to those that are living with epilepsy. They also provide free virtual or in-person first aid training for seizures.

A Walk to End Epilepsy will take place Oct. 23 at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Registration is at 7 a.m. and the event begins at 8 a.m. You can bet you will see some purple pumpkins at the event.