MARQUETTE, Mich. (WZMQ) – Epilepsy is a noncommunicable brain disorder that erupts in the form of seizures and can sometimes be followed by a negative stigma without fully understanding what it is and the best ways to help when someone has a seizure.
November marks National Epilepsy Awareness Month. On Northern Michigan University’s campus, one student is making sure everyone on campus can have the chance to learn about Epilepsy and the ways to help.
Liz Preston, a Northern Michigan Wildcat, has been diagnosed with epilepsy since 14 and is bringing some education on epilepsy to campus. “I really didn’t even know what it was…medication side effects I couldn’t have my driver’s license till I was 18 there’s so much to it and that’s why I wanna bring awareness to so many people who don’t know much about epilepsy and reduce some of that stigma,” commented Liz Preston.
Partnered with the Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan, Northern Michigan University will host an in-person training and seizure first aid for students and faculty on Monday, November 13th. Training will run from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM in the Peninsula 2 Room at the University Center.
This will give participants online, basic instructions on responding to someone who has had a seizure. One important factor Preston noted, is to time their episodes, “because if the seizure lasts more than 5 minutes that’s when you need to call an ambulance”.
Learning to identify the signs of a seizure can also be a big confidence builder for those able to help, especially if you have never been around someone who experiences frequent seizures. “People always think that you gotta put a spoon in their mouth ’cause they might swallow their tongue, that’s not possible and you don’t wanna do that don’t put anything in their mouth,” continued Preston.
According to the World Health Organization, there are around 50 million people living with epilepsy and it’s one of the most common brain diseases around the world. Marketing Professor at NMU, Derek Hall, noted that before Liz came forward he wasn’t really confident in his ability to offer seizure first aid. “I’ve taught for decades and have never had a student come up to me and do that have I had students before that have epilepsy I have no idea,” stressed Hall.
“There’s actually 30 different types of seizures and over 60 different types of epilepsy…this is for my safety and if I were to have a seizure during class which I have I need to know that I am safe my professors know what to do,” explained Preston.
Along with the training Northern is bringing some more awareness by wearing purple, the national color for epilepsy, at this weekend’s Hockey game.
To find out more about the training being offered at Northern Michigan University, click here.