Friday, November 16, 2012

Exploding Awareness

Today, I'm going to divert from this blog's intended focus of unimportant drivel to talk about something that is decidedly not superfluous. (I will probably do this from time to time. Even goofballs care about stuff sometimes.)
November is Epilepsy Awareness Month. November is also the awareness month for many other good causes - and I may get around to those as well on this blog - but, for today, I just want to talk about epilepsy.
Epilepsy is a neurological condition that affects over two million people in the United States. It is "characterized by recurrent, unprovoked seizures" as the CDC puts it.
Epilepsy can affect anyone of any age, but it most commonly begins in children under age 2 and adults over age 65.
There is no cure at this point, but early diagnosis and management are key.
I saw a really great movie a few months ago called The Exploding Girl, which opened my eyes a bit about living with epilepsy. Now, the movie isn't really about epilepsy, but the lead character - played wonderfully by Zoe Kazan (love her!) - is a college student who has epilepsy, and it affects the way she navigates her everyday life and how she thinks about her future. It's worth a look, and what better time to raise your awareness than during Epilepsy Awareness Month?

So, how can you help? Well, first, you can raise your awareness about epilepsy, and here are a couple of resources on the web for that:

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: Epilepsy and Seizures

Epilepsy Foundation: Now I Know

You can also increase your readiness to help someone having a seizure with first aid tips from the CDC. For example, the whole risk of swallowing one's tongue thing is a misconception, so you should never, ever put something in the mouth of someone having a seizure. More tips here:

First Aid for Seizures

The next thing you can do is lend your financial and/or vocal (and digital) support for organizations like  these:

The Epilepsy Foundation

Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy

So, check out The Exploding Girl and tell your friends, or - better yet - watch it with some friends. Read a few facts from the websites I listed and start a conversation with some co-workers. I'll bet you that know-it-all guy at work doesn't know about the tongue-swallowing myth. Trust me: I'm that know-it-all guy, and I only just learned about it.
Mention something on your Facebook status or send out a tweet. Post a link to this blog or write your own.
Next, I want you to take a second and think about how much you're budgeting for your (ugh) Black Friday spending or holiday spending in general. Then subtract ten bucks. (More if you can. Up to you.) Donate ten dollars to one of the organizations I listed (or another one you're aware of) instead. But do it now, because we both know you'll spend it on something frivolous if you don't. If you want, you could even donate money in place of buying a gift for someone. Make your Grandma a card (Grandmas love that stuff) that says "Because you are such a giving person, Grandma, I decided that the best gift I could give to you this holiday would be to help someone else, so I donated to the Epilepsy Foundation on your behalf! Happy Holidays!!" She will love it! (Unless she was an English teacher, in which case she'll probably throw you some shade about that run-on sentence.) You get the idea.
Spread the word. Give what you can. Make a difference.

No comments:

Post a Comment