Epilepsy patients receive good news just in time | Community Spirit
Members of the Epilepsy Support Group in Laurel were excited to learn at a meeting Thursday night that one of their main goals as an organization had been accomplished.
Every state has restrictions on Epilepsy patients driving after having a seizure until it can be controlled. Until recently, Mississippi was one of only nine states that required them to wait a full year; even most of those offer exceptions. Local Neurologist, Dr. Aremmia Tanious, M.D. announced that Mississippi legislatures had changed the law, only requiring a 6-month waiting period.
For many Americans, driving is vital and brings a sense of freedom that many take advantage of. Someone who knows this very well is Epilepsy Support Group member, Alison Vanderslice. She was diagnosed with Epilepsy 13 years ago at age 17, two weeks after hitting her head in a car wreck. Vanderslice suffers from Grand mal seizures, also known as tonic-clonic seizures. This is the most recognizable form of Epilepsy and is characterized by loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions.
“It definitely affects my family life. Whenever I have a seizure, the things I usually do like pick up my daughter from school or go by groceries, I can’t do for a while,” explained Vanderslice.
A year is such a long time for people to alter their lives so much. Six months gives ample time for most patients to regain control of their seizures and get back into their normal daily routine.
The group has been pushing this issue since its foundation in September of 2009. One of the original organizers, Kameye Hankins, has a son with Epilepsy and was ecstatic to hear the news.
“We owe a big thank you to Senator Chris McDaniel, Dr. Tanious, Support Group members, and anyone else across the state who helped,” Hankins said.
Coincidentally, this comes at an opportune time for the Epilepsy Support Group as they finalize plans for their annual events coming up.
Purple Day is a national organization that raises awareness about Epilepsy and gives materials educating the public of all ages about the disorder. It is important for everyone to know what to do in case someone around him or her has a seizure; it could potentially save that person’s life. Another importance is recognizing the misconceptions commonly associated with Epilepsy. For example, never put an object in someone’s mouth while he or she is having a seizure. Another myth, especially among children, is that seizures are contagious.
National Purple Day every year is March 26, and the group asks everyone to paint the town purple by tying purple ribbons or balloons outside homes and businesses and wearing some form purple clothing to raise awareness.
To continue the effort, the group has organized the 3rd Annual Epilepsy Awareness Walk scheduled for Saturday, March 31 at Mason Park in Laurel from 9 to 11 AM. The band By The Fire will be performing, and there will be face painting, cupcakes, drinks and several other things to entertain guests. The group will also be passing out education materials about Epilepsy. J&H Graphic of Hattiesburg has given t-shirts to be sold for only $5 to cover the costs of the shirt. Everyone is encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets to enjoy the sunshine as you “Seize the Day.”
“Anyone who has Epilepsy or knows someone with Epilepsy, I want to invite them to the Epilepsy Support Group,” encouraged Vanderslice. “It’s a blessing to meet people who know what you’re going through.”
For more information about these events, contact Kameye Hankins at (601) 319-0554. To be added to the group’s mailing list, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.