Samanta Irwin is the client support coordinator at the Center for Epilepsy and Seizure Education in Abbotsford. The centre holds a walk/run on Purple Day (Tuesday, March 26).

Samanta Irwin is the client support coordinator at the Center for Epilepsy and Seizure Education in Abbotsford. The centre holds a walk/run on Purple Day (Tuesday, March 26).

Purple Day supports epilepsy awareness

Event on March 26 includes walk/run in Abbotsford

The Center for Epilepsy and Seizure Education (CESE) in Abbotsford celebrates Purple Day by holding a walk/run at Mill Lake Park on Tuesday, March 26.

The event runs from 1 to 3 p.m. The cost to enter is $10, including a T-shirt and pedometer.

Miss Canada, Christine Jamieson of Mission, will also be on hand. She was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 16.

The centre is also hosting a B.C.-wide colouring contest.

Registration can be done in person at the centre (32868 Ventura Ave.), over the phone at 604-853-7399, on Facebook, or on the day of the event prior to the walk.

Purple Day is an international grassroots effort dedicated to increasing awareness about epilepsy worldwide.

On March 26 annually, people around the world are invited to wear purple and host events in support of epilepsy awareness.

Samantha Irwin, who works for the Center for Epilepsy and Seizure Education, said businesses have also been invited to display purple lights or to represent purple in any way they can.

Examples including putting purple balloons or candles in their shop windows.

Irwin herself has lived with epilepsy for more than 20 years after having been diagnosed with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy at the age of 12.

RELATED: Langley woman’s caregivers pen unflinching book about her struggles

She had been having multiple seizures since she was a baby and, after her diagnosis, was placed on medication to control them.

“But I will always have the memories of when I thought my seizures were going to be the end of me,” she wrote in a blog post titled My Life with Epilepsy.

“There were episodes when I would wake up on my kitchen floor with whatever was in my hand at the time spilled everywhere. My face would be scraped, and I could taste blood because my tongue had been chewed on.”

Irwin said she chooses to focus on how she turned her struggles into strengths – for example, going to college and graduating with honours to become an education assistant and a personal support worker.

She now works as the client support coordinator at the Center for Epilepsy, travelling across the Lower Mainland and hosting presentations on epilepsy awareness and seizure safety.

“I talk about the struggles I have personally encountered but also the challenges I have overcome and the life I am still able to live,” she wrote.

Irwin said she plays soccer, wakeboards, travels and drives, and encourages others with epilepsy to live life to its fullest.

“I want people with epilepsy to feel like they are not alone and they do not need to live in fear,” she said.