Member for Castle Hill Dominic Perrottet, Member for Baulkham Hills David Elliott and Mayor Michelle Byrne today called on the community to work together to increase awareness of epilepsy on Purple Day, 26 March.
Mr Perrottet said that epilepsy is often misdiagnosed and misunderstood within the community.
“An estimated 50 million people across the globe are currently living with epilepsy. In Australia alone, close to half a million people will be affected by the condition at some point during their lifetime,” Mr Perrottet said.
“Medical treatment is improving all the time and, with the right support, we can work towards ensuring that all people with epilepsy can lead full and active lives without needing to worry about their condition.”
Mr Elliott said that epilepsy should not hold anyone back from leading a full and rich life.
“Some brilliant people have lived with epilepsy, including Wally Lewis, Julius Caesar, George Gershwin and Fyodor Dostoyevsky,” Mr Elliott said.
“This is proof positive that, for all the stigma that surrounds this condition, epilepsy does not stop anyone from leading a full and accomplished life.”
Councillor Byrne said that epilepsy sufferers can find solace in relationships and local networks.
“Epilepsy is no different to stress in a way; relaxation with friends and loved ones and getting enough sleep and nutrition goes a long way to ensuring that epilepsy has almost zero impact on a person’s life,” Councillor Byrne said.
“Healthy lifestyles can assist in offsetting epileptic seizures, so everyone has an incentive to help out an epileptic friend, not only for their friend’s benefit, but for their own too.”
Hills resident Keith Topolski suffered from epilepsy as a child and agreed that epilepsy was misunderstood by many people.
“With the right treatment, epilepsy can have little to no impact on the lives of most people,” Mr Topolski said.
“The best thing we can do to support those with epilepsy is to educate people about the reality that epilepsy is not a mental illness but simply proof of having a brain!”
For more information, or to support Epilepsy Action Australia, call 1300 37 45 37 or visit www.epilepsy.org.au