Purple pumpkins fill this CT town, here’s why.

WEST HARTFORD – If there’s one thing six-year-old Landon Heilbrunn wants to see in October, it’s purple pumpkins.

Landon, a first grader at Norfeldt Elementary, suffers from epilepsy and participates in the Epilepsy Foundation’s Purple Pumpkin Project, which encourages people to paint their pumpkins purple to support the foundation, while also donating to the foundation. to continue his research.

His mother, Alexandra Heilbrunn, said Landon is like any other young boy his age and wants to erase any stigma that might be attached to children with epilepsy.

Landon enjoys soccer, tennis and skiing, enjoys playing outdoors with his brother and sister, is fascinated by airplanes and is curious about how things work.

But he has also been dealing with epilepsy most of his life, with his first seizure at 10 months old. He has yet to go a full year without seizure, his mother said, which is a goal for children with epilepsy.

“It’s more than seizures,” Heilbrunn explains. “There can be learning delays, anxiety, social emotional issues. It can be conversations about hospitalizations and tests. It is more than how people perceive a crisis.

Landon said he was already thrilled to see purple pumpkins popping up in his neighborhood, showing a sign of support for his fundraiser. And he’s likely to see more than that, with Moscarillo’s Garden Shoppe in West Hartford pledging to donate pumpkins to his entire freshman class at Norfeldt. He has already raised over $ 1,000 before the calendar officially moves to October.

“It’s really inspiring to see how generous people have been,” said Heilbrunn. “We have neighbors who donate. I receive daily pictures of people having their children paint pumpkins. Just painting a pumpkin purple helps the conversation. We want to make sure everyone knows how important this is to us. “

Every time Landon sees a purple pumpkin he feels happy, and on Halloween night, when he’s posing as a spooky skeleton, he’s ready to give whoever has a purple pumpkin a big high five.

Heilbrunn explains that Landon is finally reaching an age where he is beginning to understand epilepsy better. To help him further, they call his medicine “superhero medicine”.

“We have never been silent about Landon’s diagnosis,” Heilbrunn said. “It was a trip for sure. We are also not leading with this, as it is standardized. He’s a normal child. But people don’t know everything that’s going on with him either. “

As parents, Heilbrunn said she and her husband got scared when their son had his first seizure before he was even a year old.

“The first time he had a seizure it was obviously terrifying for his dad and me,” Heilbrunn said. “He was hospitalized… and they were trying to figure out what was going on. A child can have one and never have another. But for Landon, his journey has been that we are in our late twenties in the number of seizures he has had in his life.

Heilbrunn said the Epilepsy Foundation also does a lot for seizure education, which is a conversation Landon’s parents must have with his teachers and school officials every year, in case he does. would have one during his studies.

“It’s just as important for people to know what to do when people have a seizure because people can have many types of seizures,” Heilbrunn said. “We have to have phone calls before school starts with his teacher every year. He has a school seizure plan and takes medication twice a day. We have to stay on top of it. We want him to have as standardized a school day as possible. “

Through it all, however, Landon is able to live a normal life. He is a member of the Red Ninjas Municipal League football team and even scored a goal in a recent game.

“Because we’ve told his story, people have a better understanding of him and his journey,” Heilbrunn said.

Ideally, Landon would see a purple pumpkin on the steps of every house where he collects candy on Halloween.

“We can do it,” Heilbrunn said. “We can get purple pumpkins over there. We just need to tell more people about it.

“I want to see pumpkins all around,” Landon said.

To donate, visit Landon’s fundraising page directly or visit donate.epilepsy.com/participant/47067.

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