A surprising number of people have epilepsy, and it can be managed relatively well with medication. However, people don’t realise that in serious cases it can be fatal, which heartbreakingly happened to one of my friends at University. This is why Enlighten, a Hong Kong based charity that raises epilepsy awareness, is so close to my heart.
Co-founded by rugby player Tom Smith, Enlighten not only provides care to those affected by epilepsy, but also aims to remove prejudice through community education. They are slowly but surely eliminating the stigma that surrounds epilepsy in Hong Kong, and are encouraging communities to be accepting and understanding of those with this neurological disorder.
What is epilepsy?
Many people don’t think of epilepsy as a serious condition, but there are between 60,000-70,000 people in Hong Kong living with active epilepsy. It can vary from person to person, but is generally characterized as a medical condition that produces seizures that can affect a variety of mental and physical functions.
What does Enlighten do?
This non-medical charity aims to benefit anyone who is directly or indirectly affected by Epilepsy, and provides a range of educational programmes and community support. This includes campaigns such as ‘HOPE’ (Helping Other People with Epilepsy), which encourages people with epilepsy to use their experience to bring about positive change in the community. In addition, Enlighten also organises fun events and activities that everyone can get involved in. From a cocktail party and gala dinner, to LotArt (an amazing art lottery!), there are so many ways that you can lend a hand and help out. They even have a whole month dedicated to one of our favourite colours, purple, to raise awareness! Don’t miss out on the fun… we’re getting our purple manis booked in already.
What can you do to help?
You can get involved in a number of different ways at Enlighten. They are always looking for volunteers to help out at Epilepsy Awareness booths, help with office work, charity sales at fairs (I helped out at St. John’s Catherdral… the perfect excuse to snap up some early Christmas cards!), and to assist at various community and support events. Online donations are also accepted here, and you can even sponsor a person in need. Make sure you get involved in the ‘Paint the Town Purple’ campaign in March… from eating and drinking to purple-fying your style, there are plenty of ways you can incorporate a bit of purple into your life and help to raise epilepsy awareness! Building awareness is key to developing the quality of life for people living with epilepsy, so every little bit counts… you can even donate purple ($10 notes!) and receive a free purple wristband from participating outlets. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to help and spread awareness!
Don’t forget to ‘like’ Enlighten on Facebook too!