Granted i'm biased, but this is a cause that's in dire need of attention. Seizures aren't just a drag; they aren't merely a frustrating, humiliating, inconvenience; people are dying.
More than 50,000 people in America die on account of seizures each year. That's 50 thousand devastated, heartbroken, grief-stricken families every. single. year. That's waaaay too many moms and dads burying their babies. If we bunched it all up, that's enough sadness to sink a goddamn battle ship, (and that doesn't even include the anguish felt by friends and caregivers of these individuals, and the anguish that endures year, after year, after year in everyone's hearts). Epilepsy steals more lives annually than breast cancer, yet the funding is about $35 per patient vs. $2,976 per patient (according to abcnews), respectively.
It's staggering enough, but we also can't forget the millions of families who are waging war daily against seizure disorders. 3 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with epilepsy (that's twice the population of my home state). About a third of these people don't find good control with medications. So in addition to the thousands who succumb to the disease, there are at least a million more in our country who are robbed of quality of life and their most intimate sense of security. This results in a ripple effect of constant worry and fear and hyper-vigilance for all those who love somebody with epilepsy.
If we had a dollar for every time a mom, sister, boyfriend, daughter, etc. watched helplessly and begged and prayed and pleaded for convulsions to end, we'd have a mint to contribute to funding and research. But we don't have that money, and if we don't start talking about it, we never, ever will.
For more information, here's an article that appeared in Newsweek a few years ago: Epilepsy: Overlooked and Underfunded
While i vilify those out there who mock people with epilepsy, i realize i'm just as complicit in my silence. I haven't much talked about it outside of absolute necessity. I've run from it and done all i could to deny it. But i've realized for each of us in the literal knock-down-drag out brawl against this monster who have a voice, there are many more out there who don't.
So, God help me. I'm talking about it. I'm learning. We'll get there.
It can seem a daunting venture. Who really wants to hear about these sorts of things? It's an awkward conversation. Nonetheless, we have to stand up. The state-of-affairs on the epilepsy front is not okay! A life riddled with seizures is synonymous with terror, and too often, hopelessness. But when i noticed this headline last night my eyes and my heart welled up in a rare moment of optimism:
Gopher football team to raise epilepsy awareness Saturday[!]
|Jerry Kill, head coach of the University of |
Minnesota football team
Thanks to this brave man who contends with the burdens of epilepsy, the first ever college football game dedicated to raising epilepsy awareness was played today! The Gophers may not have put a win up on the scoreboard, but it was sure as hell a win and then some in my book. I feel so hopeful.
|Here's some of that purple in action!|
Now pardon me here, but where the fuck are you David Beckham, John Travolta, Neil Young, Danny Glover, Chief Justice Roberts, etc., etc.?! We could certainly use a little star power in the fight against epilepsy. Please, for the whopping 65 million people struggling worldwide with this disorder, let's turn the lime light at least a little purple.
Also, i noticed November is doubling as prostate cancer/men's health awareness month which guys are deeming 'Movember' and sporting mustaches. I won't lie, selfishly at first, i was a bit loathe to share the month, but i feel we can all win here if those guys would man-up and dye that upper lip fur purple. Thanks in advance, guys!