Events & News


Shining epilepsy star-Ron Lamontagne-Founder of the Purple Pumpkin Project

1) What makes epilepsy personal to you?
My son Kollin was diagnosed 3 years ago when he was 4. His first seizure, like most, caught us off guard and left us feeling lost and alone. From that moment I have strived to learn as much as I can about his Epilepsy and to do my best to help educate others.

2) How did you come up with the idea of the Purple Pumpkin Project?
While on a drive one Sunday morning with my family I was just brainstorming ideas on how to spread Epilepsy Awareness. At one point during the drive, I passed by a Billboard on the highway and thought that maybe sleeping on a Billboard for a week would draw some attention. That was the plan until I drove passed a Pumpkin Patch. I figured that kids would soon be carving and decorating pumpkins, so why not make one Purple and tell people about epilepsy when asked “Why is your Pumpkin Purple?”

3) What are some of the things that most surprised/pleased you about the response to the project?
Everything! I really originally thought that maybe a few friends and Family members would sign on. I never imagined that it would take off the way it did. In a few short days I had people pledging to Purple their Pumpkins for the cause in all 50 states. The fact that we grew to over 3000 Facebook “LIKES”, and had Purple Pumpkin Decorating Events popping up all over the place was quite overwhelming. I am still amazed that The Purple Pumpkin Project actually even reached people in over 20 countries!

4) What do you feel were the most important results from the campaign?
Overall, I truly believe that the campaign did draw attention to Epilepsy Awareness. On a more personal level I know of a few situations in which The PPP really helped someone. One of which happened when local High School featured The PPP on their weekly news show. A wonderful young woman who for years hid her Absence Seizures from her friends decided to start sharing her story after watching the piece that aired on the news. She no longer wanted to play off why she needed Special Education Services as “just being a ditsy blonde.” I knew at that moment that the campaign was going to make a difference!

5) What are your plans for next year and the future?
Everything happened so fast this past year and planning time was at a minimum. I want to get the ball rolling in January to start planning an even bigger campaign for 2013. I would love to see more Epilepsy organizations jump on board by hosting decorating events. On a non-pumpkin note, the PPP has something in the works that will be launched in February as a show of love and support for anyone who lives with Epilepsy, cares for someone living with Epilepsy or lost a loved one from a seizure related death.....stay tuned!

6) How did becoming an epilepsy advocate change things for you and your family?
Honestly, I think my son’s seizures and the added worry and stress that comes with it has changed us more than our advocacy. If anything our advocacy has only reinforced the strong bond we already have and has helped us to help him.

7) How can people keep in touch with you and participate in the PPP next year?
As of right now the best way to keep in touch is on our Facebook page. If you have not already done so, please “LIKE'” the page. Along with Epilepsy Awareness information, any news about what the Purple Pumpkin Project is up to can be found there. Feel free to send a message with any questions or ideas you might have.

Twitter Facebook