Seizing the chance to tackle epilepsy

March 20, 2018

Purple Day fundraiser Shirley O'Bree. Photo by Luke Hemer.

SHIRLEY O’Bree has been seizure-free for almost six years.

And for the past five, she has raised more than $17,000 for the Epilepsy Foundation, which has provided her with so much support over the years.

Purple Day is a cause close to her heart, having endured regular epileptic seizures for 54 years.

However, since brain surgery in 2012, Mrs O’Bree has not suffered one seizure.

So grateful for her new lease on life, she started holding a Purple Day every year to raise much-needed money and awareness.

But along the way, local businesses and schools have joined her efforts, including 19 in Rochester and about 30 across Echuca-Moama this year.

The Cunningham Downs resident is now in her fifth year and she is hoping to crack the $20,000 mark.

‘‘That would be wonderful,’’ she said.

‘‘It feels good to know how much I’ve raised, especially after what I went through and survived.’’

Mrs O’Bree is one of an estimated 2.9 million people in Australia aged over 65 with epilepsy — a demographic group with the highest proportions of people with epilepsy.

And through her work, she hopes to give people a better understanding of the disease.

‘‘I hope I am getting the message out there and making people more aware,’’ she said.

Rochester will turn purple on March 23.

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