First annual Great Pumpkin 5K in Farmington brings awareness to epilepsy

FARMINGTON -- The first ever Great Purple Pumpkin 5K in Farmington raises awareness for families dealing with epilepsy.

Epilepsy is a neurological condition that causes people to have recurring seizures. The fourth common neurological condition affects nearly 60 thousand people in Connecticut. It's a disruption to ordinary life and is triggered randomly, meaning families are always anticipating when the next hardship may come.

It's an issue the Paulus family has been dealing with for the past five years after their daughter, Isabella, was diagnosed with epilepsy at age eleven.

"Her biggest struggle in life I think has been trying to deal with and manage the seizures and the side effects of the medication and still be successful in school," says Isabella's mom, Christine Paulus.

The Paulus family, and more than 140 others joined the Epilepsy Foundation of Connecticut in participating in their first ever 5K run.

"Let's do something new for our organization, raise awareness of epilepsy in the running world, and start a great new event for us, the Great Purple Pumpkin 5K," says Allison Gamber, the Associate Director for the Epilepsy Foundation of Connecticut, who organized the race.

With orange being a signature color of fall, and November being Epilepsy Awareness Month, you may wonder, why all of the purple pumpkins?

"With a newly diagnosed child we were lost, so I didn't want other parents to be lost and not know where to go and not know what to do when their child has a seizure," says Rom Lamontagne, the founder of the Purple Pumpkin Foundation. "So, I just came up with this idea to get the conversation going by painting purple pumpkins," said founder of the Purple Pumpkin Foundation, Ron Lamontagn.

Lamontagne's idea of painting pumpkins purple for Epilepsy has taken off. His idea was adopted by the national Epilepsy Foundation.
The purple pumpkins and public events help families who sometimes feel helpless and alone.

"...and doing things like this that make other people see we're real families dealing with this everyday," says Vincent Paulus, Isabella's dad.

The foundation hopes to expand their 5K to other locations next year in an effort to raise even more awareness about epilepsy.