There are many days throughout the year dedicated to different causes. For instance, bullying prevention and awareness are widely discussed along with ailments like cancer. For an entire day to be set apart for a cause, it is likely, and most often, a very big cause that needs a little light to shine over it to garner some attention. Cassidy Megan, an elementary-aged girl, decided that epilepsy needed some light, and she founded purple day back in 2008 as a way to spread the word about epilepsy.
As an epilepsy patient herself, Cassidy was and still is very passionate about Purple Day and its purpose to slash stigmas and help others with epilepsy feel support from fellow diagnosed persons and supporters. It is important to Cassidy that others dealing with epilepsy know that they are not alone in what they go through daily.
The Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia backed Cassidy from the start and helped launch Purple Day in 2008, and The Anita Kaufmann Foundation in New York joined with the EANS in 2009 to launch Purple Day as an international initiative. Since its start, Purple Day has been held on March 26, each and every year with schools, businesses, and politicians taking part in the purple movement.
Epilepsy itself is not considered a disease or a psychological disorder, but it is defined as a neurological disorder that shows itself in the form of seizures, convulsions, and/or a lack of consciousness caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. There is currently no set method of eliminating the onset of seizures from happening in epilepsy patients, but there are methods to control them. Over half of epileptics are able to control seizures by taking medication, less than half are eligible for surgery that removes the part of the brain where the seizures start, and some children outgrow their epilepsy altogether.
Estimates show that one in every hundred people have epilepsy, which translates to roughly 2.2 million people in the United States and over 300,000 Canadian citizens. With so many people affected by epilepsy and its symptoms, celebrating the spreading of information about it is important, and Cassidy realized that. So, on March 26, pull out your purple and spread the word!
Visit the website for resources and downloads to help you get involved here.
It is also good to educate yourself on how to handle an epileptic seizure should you ever witness one and need to step in to help. Follow the steps below if someone around you begins to have a seizure.
Step One: Look Around
- Is the person having the seizure in a safe place? If so, do not move the person. Instead, move the furniture or items around them away from them to keep them safe.
- If they’ve fallen to the ground, cushion their head without holding them down.
Step Two: Note the Time
- Take notice of the time the seizure starts. If it lasts for five minutes or longer, call an ambulance for emergency medical assistance.
When the seizure has ended, stay with the person who has had a seizure. Check their breathing and airway. If breathing seems abnormal or something is blocking the airway, correct the blockage if able and call an ambulance.