Navigating Epilepsy: The Road Ahead

Purple Pumpkin Project®

Throughout the year we highlight samples of great advocacy in the world of epilepsy. The Purple Pumpkin Project® is yet another example. Read below for the history of how one father’s idea spurred a great movement!
The Origin of the Purple Pumpkin Project®
While on a drive through Connecticut one Sunday morning with his family, founder Ron Lamontagne was brainstorming ideas on how to spread epilepsy awareness. The local pumpkin patch provided the solution. Since kids would soon be carving and decorating pumpkins, he thought why not make one purple and tell people about epilepsy when asked, “Why is your pumpkin purple?”
Why is Ron’s pumpkin purple?
Ron’s youngest son was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2009 at the age of four. Since the diagnosis, Ron has seen how epilepsy impacted his son. Although he appears like an average kid on the surface, his son has experienced major challenges academically, physically and socially. Additionally, the misperceptions and fear about epilepsy have impacted relationships in the family.
Although Ron has been outspoken about the challenges his son faces, many people still choose to keep their seizures private. By raising awareness, Ron hopes to support those people and increase overall awareness of epilepsy.
How did it start…?
Ron started the Purple Pumpkin Project® Facebook page on September 2, 2012. Within two days, the page had likes in all 50 states; it reached more than 500 likes in the first three days. Ten days later, the page surpassed 1,000 likes, and photos of many people’s purple pumpkins started pouring in.
In a short time, PPP events started popping up unexpectedly, including:
Events hosted at Farmington, Connecticut’s elementary after school program and alternative high school
Two events hosted by the Northeast Regional Epilepsy Group in Hackensack, New Jersey, and Middletown, New York
By mid-October, 2012, the majority of the followers for the PPP Facebook page were located in the U.S. However, there were also quite a few followers from the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. The PPP Facebook page even reached a few people in Ireland, Germany, Romania, India, Mexico, Sweden, Singapore, Spain, Italy, Hong Kong, Denmark, Belgium, Bangladesh, Uruguay and even Cape Verde and the Marshall Islands.
Since then the movement has been growing and has continued to be celebrated throughout the country in October. We hope that this year- among all of your festive fall decorations you are able to include at least one purple pumpkin!

Pumpkin Painting Tips
For Fresh Pumpkins
Use a base coat of spray paint – this seals the pumpkins and they last longer.
Once dry, use acrylic craft paint, paint pens or other decorations to personalize.
For Craft Pumpkins
Acrylic craft paints work well as a base coat,
Once dry, use acrylic craft paint, paint pens or other decorations to personalize.


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