A colourful way to raise epilepsy awareness

Paul Fawcett

Paul Fawcett

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A Blyth resident has arranged for the Tyne Bridge and the Millennium Bridge to turn purple on the global awareness day for epilepsy.

And Paul Fawcett, who has been living with epilepsy for 19 years, is hoping that Purple Day – which takes place tomorrow – will help people to improve their understanding of the condition.

The 37-year-old had 35 seizures in the last month. This means he has to rely on his family and friends for support.

He has focal seizures that can make him confused about where he is or what he is doing. These can put him in quite a lot of danger.

Paul has cut, bruised and scalded himself when having a seizure. He has even fallen down the stairs and walked into the middle of a busy street.

He is passionate about raising awareness of epilepsy so that fewer people with the condition feel embarrassed when speaking out.

Paul said: “I think it is really important that people learn about epilepsy and know there are lots of different types of seizure.

“Epilepsy is a serious and life-threatening condition and I want people to understand that it has a real impact, not only on the person affected, but also on their family and friends.

“For Purple Day, I have persuaded Newcastle and Gateshead Councils to turn both the Millennium and Tyne Bridges purple. I did it last year too.

“I really hope that seeing such iconic landmarks turned purple in this way will get people thinking about epilepsy.”

The event sees purple-themed fund-raisers taking place all over the UK, as well as several landmarks turning purple.

Philip Lee, chief executive of charity Epilepsy Action, said: “The more we talk about epilepsy, the more we can challenge common misconceptions about it and offer the general public a clearer idea of what epilepsy is.

“We really hope Purple Day inspires people to share and talk about their epilepsy so that more people can begin to understand the condition.”