Giving the keynote address at the 4th Annual Purple Day for Epilepsy Awareness Around the World Expo

Celebrated annually on March 26, Epilepsy Awareness Day, or Purple Day, was created to increase the public’s understanding of this brain disorder and to eliminate the fear and stigma surrounding it. Yesterday, I had the privilege to give the keynote address at the 4th Annual Purple Day For Epilepsy Awareness Around the World Expo, held at Disney’s Contemporary Resort in Florida. This event is put on by the non-profit Purple Day Every Day and was attended by an estimated 600 people!

Purple Day was founded in 2008 by nine-year-old Cassidy Megan of Nova Scotia, Canada. People from around the globe are asked to wear purple and spread the word about epilepsy. Motivated by her own struggles with epilepsy, Cassidy started Purple Day to get people talking about the condition in an effort to dispel myths and inform those with seizures that they are not alone. It was great to meet Cassidy later in the day (pictured below right).

In addition to hearing about my journey with epilepsy and the mission of Sail For Epilepsy, speakers presented about SUDEP (Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy), seizure detection devices and current epilepsy research for rare types of epilepsy.

Mariah Mayhugh, Miss El Paso County 2023

I also had the chance to meet Mariah Mayhugh, an epilepsy warrior who uses the arts and her platform as Miss El Paso County 2023 to destigmatize epilepsy. In fact, I met so many epilepsy warriors throughout the day and had countless heart warming conversations about positivity and resilience.

The afternoon allowed those in attendance to visit the expo which offered the chance to learn from experts in the epilepsy community as they shared insights and information, along with local and national service organizations and members of industry. As people came over to our table to chat, I encouraged them to sign up for the One More Step Challenge and look forward to welcoming many new crew to our Virtual Shipmates.

It was a tremendous experience. I look forward to continuing conversations with those that I met during the day and finding additional ways that we can all work together to raise awareness about epilepsy and reduce the stigma surrounding this disorder.

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