New York State Department of Health Announces State Monuments to be Illuminated in Recognition of Epilepsy Awareness

215,000 New Yorkers are Living with Epilepsy, with Nearly 9,000 Individuals Newly Diagnosed Every Year

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 19, 2022)– The New York State Department of Health is raising awareness about epilepsy by illuminating state monuments in purple on November 19 to coincide with the first statewide conference hosted by the Epilepsy Coalition of New York State, which aims to promote awareness of the disorder and expand services across New York.

"Epilepsy has been misunderstood and stigmatized, and the seizures it causes can create barriers to education and employment, and lead to isolation for those living with the disorder," New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said. "I applaud those who are working to erase those obstacles and increase access to programs and services across New York State."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 215,000 people in New York are living with active epilepsy, a disorder of the central nervous system that results in seizures. Other studies suggest that close to 9,000 individuals are newly diagnosed every year in the State.

Epilepsy affects children and adults, men and women, and people of all races, religions, ethnic backgrounds and social classes. Having the disorder can alter a person's life, as it's impossible to know when the next seizure may occur, leading to problems at school and work, and it can impact the ability to get a driver's license. People with epilepsy may also face discrimination from others who may not understand what is happening during a seizure.

The New York landmarks to be lit in recognition of National Epilepsy Awareness Month include:

  • One World Trade Center
  • Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge
  • Kosciuszko Bridge
  • The H. Carl McCall SUNY Building
  • State Education Building
  • Alfred E. Smith State Office Building
  • Empire State Plaza
  • State Fairgrounds - Main Gate and Expo Center
  • Niagara Falls
  • The "Franklin D. Roosevelt" Mid-Hudson Bridge
  • Grand Central Terminal - Pershing Square Viaduct
  • Albany International Airport Gateway
  • MTA LIRR - East End Gateway at Penn Station
  • Fairport Lift Bridge over the Erie Canal

For additional information about the disorder, including how it is diagnosed and treatment options, visit the Department's epilepsy website here.

Information about the virtual Statewide Epilepsy Conference is available here.