RENO, NV -- It's not every day the students at Our Lady of the Snows get to wear something other than their uniform. They traded it in for the day Wednesday to sport some purple to support their classmate with epilepsy. Ellie Davis is bringing education and awareness to her class so they know what to do if someone they know starts seizing.
The students didn't exactly know what epilepsy was or how it can affect their lives.
"I didn't know if it was a disease or a seizure or an illness," Keira Brady, 9 years old, said.
"Students did believe that they could catch it and they believed it was harmful to them," Megan McNamare, their teacher, said.
That's why they had a "purple party" to have an open discussion about what happens when someone they know has a seizure and how they can help.
"We just want them to know that it's not harmful to them. They can't catch it and it's something that should show their support for and not be afraid of," she added.
Their classmate, nine-year-old Ellie Davis, gets a seizure once every five days, most recently Tuesday night. She's had epilepsy since she was nine months old and even though her seizures only last five to 10 minutes, for her parents, it's a terrifying experience every time.
"It doesn't matter how often you have them. Your adrenaline shoots up, you're awake, you panic, you wait for them to end, you watch the clock the whole time, your child goes back to sleep, you don't," Jenny Davis, Ellie's mother said.
Epilepsy is the most common brain disorder, but as of now, doctors aren't sure why people get it and there is no cure. You can get it at any age at any time. One in 100 people will develop epilepsy in his or her lifetime.
"I want the kids to know that Ellie is no different. Davis said. "She does have some struggles they don't, but epilepsy is a very small part of her and that she can do everything anyone else can."
"You should never be scared or not play with anyone who has epilepsy," Avery Leone, 9 years old, said.
Experts say it's best not to stop the movements of a person having a seizure, instead: make sure they are safe and have a clear airway. If the seizures last longer than ten minutes, call 911.