March 26 is Purple Day
4:57 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Wearing Purple For Epilepsy Awareness

Rhinelander students wore purple on Wednesday to spread awareness about epilepsy. 

Bryan and Lynne Wakely have learned a lot about epilepsy while raising their son Eli.
Bryan and Lynne Wakely have learned a lot about epilepsy while raising their son Eli.
Credit Natalie Jablonski

Lynne and Bryan Wakely have an 18-year-old son named Eli who has frequent seizures.  In his case, he also needs help with daily routines, and has to be monitored 24 hours a day.  But his mom will be the first to tell you, their son nothing short of awesome. 

“He’s always, no matter how many seizures he has at night, he wakes up with a smile on his face, ready for the next day.” 

Eli only goes to school for a few hours each day, and is on a strict kind of high fat diet to help control his seizures.  His parents say it’s been a big learning process since their son was diagnosed at age 2 and a half. 

“We were totally ignorant on epilepsy until it happened to us.  And like most people, you don’t dive into it until it strikes your family.  And then you do whatever you can to make it work.” 

“He’s a very special part of the family.  He’s just one of our kids.  He’s got problems but he’s just one of our kids, and we’ll do for him like we would for any of the other kids – just a little more!”

School District Nurse Kerri Schmidt agrees that Purple Day helps kids learn what different kinds of seizures look like, and have empathy for those who may suffer from them. 

“Understanding between the students, yes.  It doesn’t mean that you aren’t intelligent.  It doesn’t mean that you can’t sit by me and be my friend.” 

It’s the first year Rhinelander High School has widely recognized the day of seizure awareness, by sharing facts about epilepsy in class and encouraging students to wear purple.