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It’s estimated that 3.4 million people in the United States are living with epilepsy. Epilepsy is a condition affecting the brain that can cause seizures throughout your life.

Whether you or a loved one have epilepsy, or you’re just passionate about advocacy, you can get involved in helping those with the condition.

National Epilepsy Awareness Month encourages both awareness and involvement each year. There are opportunities for those with epilepsy and their loved ones to get involved with advocacy, education, and awareness.

Read on to learn how you can get involved.

Epilepsy Awareness Month occurs each November in the United States.

It was formally recognized by Congress in 2003. However, the Epilepsy Foundation had previously recognized this important month for many years.

Awareness of epilepsy helps bring more attention to the diagnostic and treatment difficulties related to this condition.

While there are many possible causes of epilepsy, up to half of all cases are idiopathic. This means the source is unknown and specific to the person. This can also mean that the right treatment is difficult to find, too.

Epilepsy Awareness Month offers opportunities to educate yourself and others about this neurological condition. The month also benefits the epilepsy community as a whole.

Here are some ways you can help raise awareness and funding during November and beyond for people affected by this condition.

Receiving a diagnosis of epilepsy for yourself or a loved one can be overwhelming. There’s a lot to learn about this complex brain disorder, including how it affects you and your daily life.

Epilepsy Awareness Month is a good opportunity to educate yourself about this condition so you may help others learn, too.

One way you can start is by reading through epilepsy resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one of the foremost national U.S. public health agencies, as well as from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

With epilepsy, a seizure may happen anytime and anywhere.

You can help protect your loved ones and others in your community by joining a seizure first aid program.

You can also learn how to give seizure first aid through the Epilepsy Foundation. This organization offers free, downloadable posters that you can hang up in your home, at school, and in the workplace.

Donating to a reputable epilepsy organization helps fund new research for treatments.

Despite the prevalence of this condition, funding for epilepsy research and treatments lags significantly behind funding for other common neurological disorders, according to the advocacy group Cure Epilepsy.

During Epilepsy Awareness Month, consider making donations to one or more of the following organizations:

If you’re interested in donating your time, the Epilepsy Foundation and other organizations offer opportunities to volunteer locally and online. Click here to find an affiliate in your area and learn how you can help.

Some of the ways you can volunteer include:

  • organizing walks and other fundraisers
  • hosting educational talks
  • providing resources and information to families

Every November, you might find opportunities to participate in walks for epilepsy. These are designed to help raise money and awareness, but they also give you the chance to meet others affected by epilepsy.

These walks are held in different areas of the country throughout the year. This can be great news if November is typically cold where you live. Multiple walks during the calendar year can also increase opportunities for fundraising and awareness.

To get started, read more from the Epilepsy Foundation’s Walk to End Epilepsy page.

Writing a letter or an email to your local, state, and federal representatives can help you reach lawmakers who shape policy related to epilepsy. These lawmakers‘ decisions can affect epilepsy treatments and accommodations as well as funding for epilepsy research.

When writing to a representative, be clear about the purpose of your letter. Consider offering to speak further with your representative to help educate them about the current state of epilepsy research and treatment.

Sharing your personal stories about epilepsy can make a big impression on a lawmaker and help bring more awareness to the importance of policy and funding.

Click here to view the official directory of the U.S. House of Representatives where you can find your congressional district and representative. This site can help you quickly find your representative’s contact information.

Social media plays a major role in raising awareness about many important issues, and your own accounts can help further your advocacy efforts for Epilepsy Awareness Month.

Some ideas for spreading awareness on social media include:

  • sharing hashtags, such as #NEAM for National Epilepsy Awareness Month and #EpilepsyEquity
  • changing your profile picture for the entire month
  • writing about seizure first aid tips or other ways you can help people with epilepsy
  • sharing links to upcoming walks, donation pages, and reputable epilepsy organizations
  • talking about your personal ties to epilepsy and why the month of November is so important to you

Purple represents epilepsy awareness.

You can show your support by wearing a purple ribbon every day during the month of November. The act of wearing a purple ribbon can help spark conversations about Epilepsy Awareness Month and possibly inspire others to get involved.

You can also purchase and wear other epilepsy awareness merchandise, such as T-shirts and jewelry. The proceeds from many of these purchases go to organizations that fund research and treatment for epilepsy.

There’s currently no cure for epilepsy. It’s estimated that 30 to 40 percent of people with the disorder continue to have seizures while taking medication.

Research and funding for clinical trials are crucial to getting closer to better treatments with more effective outcomes.

During Epilepsy Awareness Month, consider bookmarking the websites or resources of reputable organizations so you can have the latest research at your fingertips throughout the year.

Here are a few pages to get you started:

Epilepsy is a common brain disorder, with an estimated 1 in 26 adults and children in the U.S. affected at some point during their lifetimes.

While epilepsy isn’t entirely preventable, you may consider talking with a doctor about some of your own risk factors, including:

While the month of November is recognized as Epilepsy Awareness Month, your advocacy efforts don’t need to end once the month is over.

There are other dates throughout the year that are worth marking on your calendar. For example, March 26th is often recognized as Purple Day to support epilepsy awareness. Other recognized events include International Epilepsy Day on the second Monday of every February.

By recognizing other epilepsy awareness events, you can help further education and fundraising even more.

November is recognized as National Epilepsy Awareness Month, and there are many opportunities to get involved both in person and virtually. Education and fundraising are key to helping improve the lives of those with epilepsy.

Try any of these 11 ways to get involved and take a powerful first step in your own epilepsy advocacy mission. You can also challenge yourself to get others involved and make your own advocacy a year-round mission.