Wednesday Blog: SQ1 Superfriend of the Month
Each Month, we’re putting a Spotlight on a Superfriend. This month we are thrilled to feature Brigid Baffico and an event to close to her heart, Purple Day! There are 3 million people in the U.S. living with Epilepsy and 50 million people worldwide. Each year the same number of people get diagnosed with Epilepsy as with Breast Cancer. Find out how to show support for people with this condition and the difference wearing PURPLE can make in the exclusive SQ1 interview below:
Q: Brigid, tell us a little bit about Purple Day for Epilepsy Awareness and how this exciting event came about.
A: Purple Day for Epilepsy Awareness is an amazing grassroots movement that brings attention to an extremely prevalent – 3 million people in the United States alone have Epilepsy – but under-recognized condition. Its message is simple and clear– just wear purple on March 26th and show support and understanding for people living with this condition. A 9-year-old girl in Canada who wanted to talk about her own difficulty living with Epilepsy started it all – it’s really an awesome “Power of One” story.
Q: How and why did you come to your current position at Purple Day for Epilepsy Awareness?
A: I was officially diagnosed with Epilepsy when I was 17 years old and I knew that I needed to give a voice to this condition. There are so many myths and rumors and a general lack of education out there. I did a small part then, but it wasn’t until 12 years later when Purple Day came into existence that I really had a platform to work from. I became an Ambassador for the movement and started speaking at schools to bring Epilepsy education to the younger generation and stop the myths before they can begin.
Q: How has working with Purple Day for Epilepsy Awareness impacted your life and what about your job brings you the most joy?
A: It’s been amazing! Kids are so receptive and so full of questions. It makes me want to work harder and be more creative every time I present so I can keep up with their energy. But, the most rewarding part is when I run in to a parent of a child that I presented to and they tell me that their dinner-time conversation was all about epilepsy. Getting someone talking about it is my ultimate goal – just spreading the awareness.
Q: What was your life like pre-parenthood?
A: I remember much more sleep! But seriously, before my son was born I was working lots of hours a week in advertising while teaching piano on the side. We lived in Chicago and enjoyed walking everywhere and we traveled a bit more. But in some ways being a parent gave me more freedom. I left the advertising gig when our son was born and stayed with my true passion, teaching piano, which gave me the opportunity to work with Purple Day. And we get to enjoy more time as a family. I don’t really miss the other side – except the sleep!
What’s the one thing that you now know that you wish you knew when you were growing up?
A: Listen to your Mom! I don’t think I really learned this until I became one myself. I have an amazing Mom that I should have listened to more! It’s true, moms aren’t right all the time – no one can be – but they have a lot of experience, generally in some type of applicable situation. So, if you’re smart, at least hear her through.
Q: What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
A: I had a sign in my room when I was a kid that said, “Live, Love, Laugh, and Be Happy”. I try to do all of those things with reckless abandon.
Q: What is your biggest accomplishment?
A: When I was first diagnosed with Epilepsy, I was warned that I might not be able to have children since it is very risky. Many careful eyes watched every step of my pregnancy. And today I have this amazing, crazy, happy almost-6-year-old son who leaves his Legos all over the house! He will always be my biggest accomplishment.
Q: If you could say something to the next generation what would it be?
A: Be a positive person. There is a lot of negativity in the world and a lot of people who would choose to use that to bring you down. Having a positive outlook may seem cliché, but it will get you much farther in life than less appealing qualities. Oh, and smile. Don’t forget to smile.