Light shines on disorder

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Lechelle Earl, owner/editor

Light shines on disorder

Two Mount Gambier landmarks lit up purple last week to raise awareness of an often misunderstood disorder.

The Lady Nelson at the Mount Gambier Visitor Centre and the Riddoch Arts and Cultural Centre joined 34 other sites bathed in purple for Purple Day, raising awareness and funds for epilepsy.

Make March Purple is a month-long national campaign in which epilepsy organisations from around the country come together in support of the 250,000 Australians living with epilepsy, their partners, families, and unpaid carers.

The Epilepsy Centre registered nurse educator Leeanne Gaskin said there was a lot of misinformation around the disorder.

“Epilepsy is a lot more common than people think,” she said.

“A lot of people will not talk about their epilepsy because of that fear of being misunderstood or bullied or it is often mistaken for a mental health illness.

“There are 114 different types of seizures including rare syndromes and people do not realise that.

“Someone could be walking around, doing weird things, looking vague and fidgeting with their clothes and they are having a seizure.

“There are a lot of misunderstandings. Knowledge is empowering people … but it is not talked about because of that fear and the myths and the misinformation about it.”

Ms Gaskin said her team of registered nurse educators have reached out to more than 3000 South Australians to date through funding from the State Government.

“Three of us are involved in getting out and doing as much complimentary training as we can and families and individuals with epilepsy can come and get free training at the centre or we do zoom trainings so we can reach out to regions,” she said.

“We came down to Mount Gambier last year and we are hoping to make another trip towards the end of this year.”

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