Natasha Wasmuth knows what it’s like to wake up not knowing where she is after a seizure, and she’s not alone.
The Quesnel resident has epilepsy and fundraises to improve treatment and raise awareness every March in commemoration of Purple Day, through epilepsyQuesnel, a group she founded. Purple Day is recognized every year on March 26.
Funds from epilepsyQuesnel’s efforts go to the Vancouver General Hospital Seizure Investigation Unit.
Prize baskets will be up for sale in a silent auction leading up to the day, alongside a burger fundraiser set for March 26. Burgers made by Bliss Coffee will be served in downtown Quesnel at the Quesnel Bakery, with a cookie from the bakery and coffee from Granville’s.
Baskets have been donated by West Side Liquor Store, Mama C’s, Moonshine Coffee, Barkerville Brewery, Long Table Grocery, Pure Romance, epilepsyQuesnel, and the Porter Family.
Wasmuth wanted to promote the events alongside the medical professionals who have helped throughout her epilepsy journey.
On Sunday, March 6, she gathered paramedics, nurses and her doctor in front of the entrance to GR Baker Memorial Hospital.
“Everything from the very first grand mal seizure I had, having to get into the back of an ambulance, to waking up after brain surgery in the ICU (is represented),” she said.
“That whole gambit was almost 20 years.”
Wasmuth said she’s experienced car accidents, falling out of the shower and almost bit her tongue out, but has luckily never had a dislocated shoulder.
“I’ve had goose eggs on my head from a tile floor, I’ve been bruised and cut and bleeding, but never broke a bone or dislocated a shoulder, so I can’t say I’ve been through everything,” she said.
The only people missing from the photo-op, according to Wasmuth, were police officers.
“The very first thing you’re going to see when you come to, and you can tell what you’re looking at is RCMP,” she said.
“I guarantee that. They get there the fastest, and there is more of them.”
Cards will be given out on Purple Day, instructing the public on what to do if they come across someone having a seizure. Over 50,000 people in B.C. have epilepsy.
“There’s a lot of people in Quesnel who have epilepsy,” Wasmuth said, noting many people have approached her after she started fundraising to share their experiences.
One of the paramedics involved in the photo approached Wasmuth after the photo and said both his children had epilepsy.
“It’s so common and that’s the nice thing about emergency. The top three things that put you in a tier above everyone else that comes in are a heart attack, stroke or seizure. That’s how important they are.”
Wasmuth called the first responders who help her and everyone with seizures as heroes.
“(They) see the most horrid things, and you still go to work every day, that’s what makes you a hero,” she said.
“The stuff they see is astronomical, and grand mal seizures are one of the worst.”
Wasmuth said everyone can play a part in protecting someone with epilepsy.
“The most important thing is for people to take the two minutes and learn what to do,” she said.
“What you do when you see someone having a grand mal is very simple.”
If someone is having a seizure, you should put something soft under their head, time the seizure, loosen any ties and remove glasses, and roll them on their side. It is important not to restrain the person, or put anything in their mouth.
“I could literally chew through your bone,” Wasmuth said, laughing.
Wasmuth encouraged everyone to get comfortable with the idea of helping someone having a seizure, and not be afraid.
“People that don’t know (what to do), I get why they’re scared,” Wasmuth said.
“We need you to be involved. We need something under our head, especially on pavement or tile floor. You could save us from actual brain injury.”
You should call an ambulance if the seizure lasts longer than five minutes, if the person does not recover, if the seizure occurred in water, or if it is a first-time seizure. You should also call an ambulance if the person having a seizure has diabetes or is pregnant.
To reserve a burger, call Bliss Coffee at (250) 992-7066. The burgers will only be available through a pre-sale and must be ordered before March 19.
For more information on the baskets, or to get an information poster about epilepsy, contact Wasmuth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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