Denmark Family Dedicated to Raising Awareness of Epilepsy on Purple Day

Local News

Today people around the world are wearing purple to raise awareness of epilepsy. And in Denmark one family does what it can, one purple cupcake at a time.

Inside Blossoms in Denmark hundreds of purple cupcakes are up for sale. And Tammy Smits-Sommer says every item purchased helps educate people about the facts of epilepsy and those dealing with it.

“Purple Day is March 26 worldwide. It’s to celebrate epilepsy and to make sure everyone with epilepsy knows they are not alone,” said Tammy Smits-Sommer, organizer of the sale.

At age four Tammy’s daughter McKinley was diagnosed with the neurological disorder that affects 50 million people worldwide, which causes sudden bursts of electrical activity in the brain causing seizure.

“It messes up their messages and they don’t know what to do. It’s like a computer, you open up all these web pages and all of a sudden your computer thinks I don’t want all of these web pages open and the computer slows down, slows down and maybe that computer is going to crash,” said Tammy Smits-Sommer.

To help raise awareness of the condition globally – Purple Day was founded in 2008.  For the last eight years Tammy and her daughter have done their part to raise money for the effort by selling thousands of cupcakes over that time.

“How many people can do 300 dozen cupcakes in a day. So, it is the biggest one in the nation and I think that is pretty cool for northeast Wisconsin,” she said.

With each sale comes information, brochures explaining how to help if you see someone having a seizure.

“With every cupcake goes a bookmark with the acronym BRAIN on it, which stands for be calm, remove objects, all that stuff,” said McKinley.

And epilepsy facts such as it’s not a disease, it’s not contagious and people diagnosed with it are leading normal lives. 

“I do things everyone else does, I just do it a little differently than other people,” McKinley said.

It’s a local bake sale for a national effort to educate people about epilepsy – one purple cupcake at a time.

And of those cupcakes sold, over 3,000 were donated to Smits-Sommer by members of the Denmark community.

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