November is a month traditionally associated with bountiful meals, meticulous table settings, and gearing up for the hustle and bustle of the holiday season as soon as the first slice of turkey is carved. However, what many might not realize during the busy pre-cursor is that November is also Epilepsy Awareness Month here in the United States.
Although 3.4 million people and their families are affected by epilepsy nationwide, much is still misunderstood about the brain disorder that causes debilitating seizures and neurological challenges for those affected. Some individuals might ask why the disorder doesn’t receive the same level of awareness that other chronic conditions might receive throughout the year.
Local Outer Banks resident Ava Hundley is one of them.
Following a class presentation at her school on the topic of breast cancer honoring her grandmother who is currently battling stage iv metastatic breast cancer in October, Hundley, an 8-year-old student at Nags Head Elementary, and one of over three million people living with epilepsy began to question her mother, Sharon Hundley, why there were no honorary events for Epilepsy Awareness Month, recognized annually each November.
While breast cancer month is associated with the color pink during the entirety of October, “Ava went on to say how she really wanted there to be a ‘purple day’ in November,” Sharon recalls to OBX Today. Young Ava went on to explain to her mother, “I want people to know the disorder is not that uncommon because I looked it up!”
Epilepsy is, in fact, the fourth most common neurological disorder in the world. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, 1 in 26 can develop epilepsy during their lifetime, at any age. One in ten people will have at least one seizure in their lifetime.
Sharon’s request from her daughter to speak to the principal regarding a day of recognition was met with so much admiration by school faculty that on Friday, November 18, Nags Head Elementary will be honoring Ava Hundley and the millions of others living with the disorder by wearing purple, the color associated with those affected by epilepsy.
Those in the community are also encouraged to wear shades of the color to recognize those such as Ava who live with the disorder day-to-day.
“Ava has such a heart for people and she loves others so deeply,” says her mother Sharon. “It’s my hope that not only can we bring awareness for those with epilepsy like Ava, but that she can know her efforts for change, are so worth it and seen!”
For more information on the disorder, please visit the Epilepsy Foundation at www.epilepsy.com.