Monica Remembers Jess As Hamilton Turns Purple

Family and friends of a young local woman who died in 2022 gathered at Hamilton Town House on Purple Day to help raise awareness of epilepsy.

Twenty-year-old Jessica Johnston died suddenly and unexpectedly from epilepsy in January 2022. Jessica’s epilepsy was never diagnosed so she never received the care and treatments that may have kept her alive.

Jessica’s mother, Lindsey Greer, now wants to raise awareness of epilepsy and see action taken to reduce the risk of premature death. To coincide with Purple Day, an internationally recognised action day on epilepsy, Lindsey attended Hamilton Town House with Monica on Monday night.

The iconic building was on one of dozens of places lit up purple across the country to raise awareness for Purple Day 2024.

With the support of epilepsy charity SUDEP Action, Lindsey arranged for crocheted purple hearts to be sent to every Member of the Scottish Parliament for them to wear on Tuesday 26 March. Jessica’s friend Libby crocheted all 129 hearts over the past 11 months to raise awareness of Purple Day and SUDPEP’s work supporting families.

Monica, has been supporting the work of Jessica’s family. She distributed the purple hearts to MSPs and government ministers alongside a card with a picture of Jessica and a message raising awareness for Purple Day.

Monica said of the event:

“Jessica Johnston from Hamilton was only 20 years old when she passed away in January 2022. She was a much-loved daughter, sister and friend and it’s fitting that her hometown is marking Purple Day.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to increase public awareness of epilepsy – a common serious neurological condition that affects 58,000 Scots.

“It is also a time to remember those lost and shine a light on the incredible work of charities such as SUDEP

“Through supporting Jess’s family, I appreciate how much SUDEP does to help families affected by epilepsy-related deaths. More action is needed to save lives, and I admire Lindsey’s strength and courage in campaigning to save other young lives. No mother should have to experience the pain and loss she lives with every day.

“Purple Day is about awareness and action, and in that spirit Jess’s friend Libby crocheted a purple heart for every MSP. Each heart is accompanied by a beautiful photo of Jess and a note asking MSPs to wear it on 26th March.

“Knowing how much Purple Day meant to Jessica, Libby has worked tirelessly to make sure her memory lives on.

“I am grateful to Hamilton Town House for lighting up in honour of Purple Day and to Jessica’s friends and family for attending to raise awareness in her name.”

Lindsey Greer, Jessica’s mum commented:

“As Jessica’s Mum I don’t know where I would be in terms of asking the right questions and understanding complex reports without the ongoing support received from SUDEP Action.

“Jessica was a supporter of SUDEP Action because of my complex epilepsy, in 2018 Jessica asked everybody she knew – and everyone who knew me – to wear purple on Purple Day. She would say, ‘we fight epilepsy as a family’.

“Jessica was undiagnosed, but she knew the risks. I will carry on because there are other Jessica’s out there, undiagnosed, awaiting treatment and at risk. I cannot abide the thought of any other family suffering the way we have, and I will not let Jessica’s story be brushed aside.

“Her legacy is of positivity in adversity, and I will continue honour my daughter by increasing the awareness of epilepsy thus reducing risk and ultimately saving lives”.