Epilepsy Awareness Day, or Purple Day, is celebrated annually on March 26. The day is marked to raise awareness among the people of the world about the brain disorder that is epilepsy. It is an opportunity to increase the public’s understanding of the disease and to eliminate the fear and stigma around it. Epilepsy can be dealt with if diagnosed and treated correctly. And that is all the more reason why awareness and research is important.
History of Purple Day
Back in 2008, a young Cassidy Megan from Nova Scotia, Canada, founded Epilepsy Awareness Day. The first ever event was held on March 26, that year. Cassidy who was 9 at the time took her own diagnosis to raise awareness around the world. She was motivated to share the struggles of living with epilepsy after she realized the importance of public understanding of this common neurological disorder. In 2009, Cassidy and the Epilepsy Association of The Maritimes partnered with The Anita Kaufmann Foundation to launch Purple Day internationally.
The global sponsors of Purple Day are committed to bringing more collective attention by partnering with individuals and organizations across continents to promote epilepsy awareness. Since the inception of Purple Day, the foundation organises structured campaigns and has continued to expand its reach since. It is an avenue for the public to learn, engage, and support the education of epilepsy in the world as well as dispel the myths and fears surrounding it.
Why is Purple Day important
Electrical disturbances experienced in the brain results in seizures of different types. This is how an individual gets epilepsy. A scary condition for the common people who often make wrong assumptions about the disease and the potentiality of those who live with it. The fourth most common neurological disorder, epilepsy comes after migraines, strokes, and Alzheimer’s. One in 26 Americans is estimated to develop epilepsy at one point in their life.
It raises understanding: Despite being a common disease in America, not enough resources in the country are consumed on research and awareness. This is why Epilepsy Awareness Day is helpful to provide the condition the much-needed attention it warrants.
It eliminates fear and stigma: Education has the potential; to eradicate fear and prejudice. People living with epilepsy often experience stigma and discrimination, which can be rather burdensome to navigate than the condition itself. Epilepsy Awareness Day largely contributes to the understanding and insight of people around the world.
For the love of the colour: 40% of people around the world say their favorite color is purple. It is believed in common knowledge that those who are passionate about the colour make great humanitarians and are quick to help those in need. These are great characteristics to serve in epilepsy education and support.
Here are few important facts associated with epilepsy
About 50 million people around the world are living with epilepsy. The risk of premature death in people suffering with this condition is almost three times higher than for the general population.
1 in 100 people are estimated to have epilepsy and approximately 2.2 million Americans live with the condition. Epilepsy is not a psychological disorder or contagious. Not everyone can understand correctly the specific circumstances or events that affect seizures, but some of the common triggers are listed below which can help one recognize definite seizure triggers:
-Forgetting to take prescribed seizure medication
-Lack of sleep
-Stress, excitement, emotional upset
-Menstrual cycle / hormonal changes
-Illness or fever
-Low seizure medication levels
-Medications other than prescribed seizure medication
-Flickering lights of computers, television, videos, etc., and sometimes even bright sunlight