When a young Canadian girl was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was just seven years old, one thing she struggled with was that most of her school friends knew much about the illness. She wanted to change this. So she came up with an idea to dedicate one day in the year for people to talk about epilepsy, and other seizure disorders, to raise awareness and help others with the illness know they were not alone.
That’s when nine-year-old, Cassidy Megan, started Purple Day.
Epilepsy is a common neurological condition in which a person has a tendency to have recurring seizures. It’s estimated that 1 in 100 people have the illness – that’s about 50 million people around the world living with epilepsy. Charles Dickens and Thomas Edison were two famous people in history to have had epilepsy, and today, on Australian shores actor, Hugo Weaving, and, sports personality, Wally Lewis, both live with the illness.
This month, March 26th will be the eighth celebration of Purple Day since its inception in 2008. Cassidy named it such, after the internationally recognised colour for epilepsy – lavender. The following year the Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia, in Megan’s home town, and the New-York based Anita Kaufmann Foundation joined Casidy and helped create her dream by launching Purple Day all around the world.
Naturally, on Purple Day, people are encouraged to wear the colour purple or buy a purple ribbon to help raise awareness of the condition and raise much needed funds for both research and to support those living with it. Activities now happen in schools, workplaces, nursing homes, Parliaments, coffee shops and, of course, on social media.
“Before I started Purple Day, I was afraid to tell people about my epilepsy because I thought they would make fun of me. I started Purple Day because I wanted to tell everyone about epilepsy, especially that all seizures are not the same and that people with epilepsy are ordinary people just like everyone else. I also wanted kids with epilepsy to know that they are not alone.” – Cassidy
Today it is celebrated in most parts of the globe, including all across Canada, the USA, the UK, South Africa, India and Australia. Cassidy has become the spokesperson for children with epilepsy worldwide, and has been on The Late Show with David Letterman, and has even met Queen Elizabeth! Not bad for someone who is barely 16 years old!
This Thank You Thursday we give a huge cheer for Cassidy and her amazing work with the Purple Day movement around the world. And remind everyone to add a touch of purple to your wardrobe in three weeks on March 26th.
See you in the pond,
The Fish Chick.