Excerpt of Article by Agamoni Ghosh | International Business Times
Purple Day founder Cassidy Megan was nine years old when she sought to spread awareness about epilepsy. Purple Day is an international day dedicated to increasing epilepsy awareness. Every 26 March, around the world people wear purple and host events to raise awareness of a condition that affects more than 50 million people. Some are also encouraged to wear a lavender ribbon, often associated with epilepsy because lavender represents isolation and solitude, a dominant feeling for many with epilepsy.
History of Purple Day
Established in 2008 by nine-year-old Cassidy Megan of Nova Scotia, Canada, she told her friends about her epilepsy after a presentation in her class by the Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia. At first, Megan was afraid that other children would make fun of her. Then she came up with the idea of Purple Day where people would wear purple to show support for those living with epilepsy.
The Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia came on board in 2008 to help develop Megan’s idea, which is now known as the Purple Day for Epilepsy campaign.
Over the last eight years, Megan’s message of courage has spread across the world. Purple Day is now the biggest international awareness day for epilepsy and people everywhere are stepping up and sharing their stories and wearing purple.
What is epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a neurological condition marked by seizures, which start in the brain, that can lead to physical injuries including broken bones. It is usually only diagnosed after a person has had one, or more, seizures which either relate to a brain injury or family history but often the cause is unknown.Known genetic mutations are directly linked to a small proportion of cases.
Why should we be more aware?
Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder and affects people of all ages – about 1 in every 100 people. How epilepsy is perceived or how people are treated (stigma) is considered a bigger problem than the seizures themselves because it can affect relationships.
People in some parts of the world still believe that those with epilepsy are cursed. This results in many people with epilepsy denying suffering seizures. In India and China, epilepsy is a social justification to deny marriage. Even in the UK, prior to 1970 laws prevented people with epilepsy from marrying. In Tanzania, as in other parts of Africa, epilepsy is associated with possession by evil spirits, witchcraft or poisoning, and is incorrectly perceived as contagious.
Thanks to Agamoni Ghosh for writing the article; International Business Times for committing its resources to the article; Google for helping me find the article; and all the other people who, directly or indirectly, made it possible to include the picture and text in this post.