Afflicted children receive support from GSK, epilepsy association
By John Liu,The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Children's Epilepsy Association of Taiwan and leading pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) held the 2013 Epilepsy Family Baseball Camp on Saturday to encourage kids with the disease to get outside and be more active.
September 2, 2013, 12:07 am TWN
The event was held in Taipei Youth Activity Center. A press conference that aimed to educate the public about the disease was held prior to the camp's launch. Many people in Taiwan believe that it is unsafe for epilepsy patients to participate in sports; in fact, many stadiums and activity centers prohibit them from entering.
The association and GSK co-organized the sports activity for children with epilepsy to provide them with a safe environment to play T-Ball, a game similar to baseball which is normally considered too dangerous for them to participate in. The children were divided into teams for the competitive games and enjoyed a fun afternoon.
Participants in yesterday's event wore purple headscarves provided by GSK. The color purple has a special meaning; with existing connotations of “solitude,” purple and lavender are often associated with epilepsy. Cassidy Megan of Canada conceived the idea for Purple Day in 2008, motivated by her own struggles with epilepsy. Cassidy's goal is to get people talking about the disease as a means of dispelling myths about it and of informing those who suffer from seizures that they are not alone.
Epilepsy comprises a series of neurological issues characterized by seizures. It is relatively common, and about 50 million people worldwide have it. According to the National Health Insurance Administration, there are 5.85 people with epilepsy in every 1,000 people in Taiwan, equal to about 140,000 people in total.
The Public's Misconception
According to a survey conducted by the Children's Epilepsy Association, 30 percent of the population believe children with epilepsy are not suited for exercise, and over 40 percent believe exercise will exacerbate their disease.
Seventy-five percent of those surveyed said they would prefer not to exercise alongside epilepsy patients for fear of witnessing a seizure, while 25 percent believe the disease is contagious. Such pervasive misconceptions discourage those with the disease from exercising in public.
Kwan Shang-yeong (關尚勇), the association's secretary-general and a Neurological Institute doctor at Taipei Veterans General Hospital, said that children with epilepsy may well participate in outdoor activities, so long as they do not overexert themselves.