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Make March Purple for lives without limits

Guy Hazlewood    February 29, 2024    3 min read   

This March, Queenslanders will join footballing legend Wally Lewis to turn the nation purple and change lives for people living with epilepsy

Every 33 minutes, someone is diagnosed with epilepsy, a neurological condition that can affect anyone at any time.

The Quabba Family. Source: Rose Mia Photography

“I wish I’d opened up about my condition to my friends and teammates, instead of keeping it to myself,” Wally said.

“If I had one wish for Make March Purple, it would be that it helps people with epilepsy to feel less alone.”

Danica Quabba, a Springfield-based agency nurse for HealthCare Australia, said her daughter Abigail was diagnosed with multifocal epilepsy as an infant in November 2018.

“At three days old, I noticed Abigail was making these really strange, repetitive tremors,” Danica said.

“They’d last five seconds and then they’d be over.”

Danica went to a paediatrician, where they did a precautionary MRI, lumbar puncture and EEG and everything came back normal.

“At about 16 months old, she had this episode in her cot, that I later found out was a full-blown tonic-clonic seizure,” she said.

“I had no idea at that point what it was, so I just grabbed her and screamed.”

Abigail was 18 months old when Danica was told she was having frequent multifocal epileptiform discharges.

“Even though we couldn’t see her having a seizure, she still had highly abnormal background activity going on,” Danica said.

Danica felt lost at that point, and she didn’t know who to go to for support.

“I ended up reaching out and contacting Epilepsy Queensland for some advice and help,” she said.

“Ultimately, we decided that we needed to be down in Brisbane for Abigail to have the best medical support.”

Danica and Abigail moved away from her family in North Queensland and began relying on Epilepsy Queensland for advice and support.

Abigail continued to have seizures, which led to her having muscle weakness and brain fog.

Abigail eventually had Cannabidiol (CBD) oil treatment, and after three months seizure-free, she went in for a week-long electroencephalogram (EEG).

“The doctors came back to us saying they could find no abnormalities in her brain activity,” Danica said.

“We’ve now almost hit 18 months seizure-free, achieving what’s known as ‘seizure freedom’.”

Danica insists raising awareness is important for people affected by epilepsy, but also for the wider community.

“Parents should reach out to the organisations that are here to help, like Epilepsy Queensland because they’re always willing to help,” she said.

“Epilepsy can be quite confronting, but if people completed seizure first aid it wouldn’t be such an issue.”

Join Epilepsy Queensland to Make March Purple in 2024, by getting purple ‘mucked’, turning your profile picture upside down on social media and sharing your epilepsy story.

To find out more about how you can get involved, visit www.makemarchpurple.org.au.

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Guy Hazlewood