The leaves have started to change as others plummet to the ground to make room for the new ones that will come in next season. That’s not the only thing dropping though. I see chilly days ahead too or should I say feel them! That’s a sign that fall is in the air and winter is just around the corner. What’s that? There’s something else? Oh man, you’re right. It appears they have a purple pumpkin on their porch. That’s odd. I thought pumpkins were typically orange or some variation of that color? I’m curious. I wonder if it’s for an awareness or if they’re just being silly? I wouldn’t mind asking. Let’s go find out.
Well, it turns out it was just for decorative purposes. I’m just messing with you! It actually was for a cause. Which one? For Epilepsy ya sallie! It’s smart and a good conversation starter. I mean, aside from me just randomly walking into someones yard like a goober and asking “What’s up with that pumpkin bud?”, it’s a good way for your little one or you if you want to get creative, to have fun, paint a pumpkin and spread awareness while meeting someone new! Seeing a purple pumpkin wasn’t always something you’d see. How did all this come about? Who came up with this seemingly small idea that would come to have such a huge impact?
The answer is in the Patch!
It all started with a drive, an idea and pumpkin patch. For Ron Lamontagne, it was more than pumpkin patch, it was the answer to a simple question, “How can we spread epilepsy awareness through community engagement?” What better way than pumpkins since everyone would soon be by to rummage through to pick their favorite one, take home to carve up, decorate and set out! It would be the perfect time to make one purple and talk about Epilepsy when someone asked “Hey, what’s up with that purple pumpkin?”
So, What’s up with Ron’s Pumpkin?
I’m glad you asked! Ron’s purple pumpkin is for his youngest son. Diagnosed in 2009 with Epilepsy at age four, Ron saw the devastating impacts this illness can have. From emotional, mental all the way down to social, it took a toll. Like most of us, you don’t see what’s underneath and what comes with Epilepsy, hence why you hear me and others refer to it as “The Iceberg Illness”. Although Ron has gotten the word out, many still remain quiet about their condition and seizures but through this project, community support and raising awareness, he along with all of us hopes that will soon change.
The Patch Grows!
Since the project started, it has taken off! Ron started a page for the Purple Pumpkin Project on September 12, 2012 and within two days of launch, it had “likes” in all 50 states and within three days it had hit 500; the word had spread! No more than two weeks later and the PPP already passed over 1,000 likes and the support was rolling in along with some awesome shots of those pumpkins! It didn’t stop there. More communities got involved including families and schools with local foundations. The rest, well, the rest is history and here we are! The Epilepsy Foundation is always a good place for more information on this project and how to get involved. You can learn all about it here.
I love the Purple Pumpkin Project! It’s a great way to raise money and awareness for Epilepsy. Last year, I organized a small little Pumpkin project for my county to get the word out and find out who all deals with this invisible illness too. I wanted them to share in spreading awareness with me as well as let them know they’re not alone in their journey. In my planning and outreach, I too learned from Ron’s experience that individuals truly do keep their seizures private, scared to speak about them, whether it was to me or anyone. As understandable as it is, understand that people can’t get to know YOUR illness if YOU don’t talk about it. Every seizure is different and it varies from person to person. I know it’s hard, trust me bud. I myself have been through some shitty situations involving my seizures and Epilepsy. At times, I find myself not wanting to talk about it either. Who would understand? Who would listen? You never know until you speak. You might have epilepsy but Epilepsy doesn’t have you! Remember that. Now, go get your pumpkin, decorate it, carve it, make it yours. Make it a representation of you just don’t forget to paint it Purple! November is Epilepsy Awareness month but to me, every month is Epilepsy awareness month! I love you guys. Seize the day, today and everyday. Thanks for reading. Until next time, stay safe, stay medicated and relax, it’s natural!💜💚🤟🏼