If you notice a lot of people wearing purple on 26 March, it’s because they are part of a worldwide campaign to increase awareness and understanding of epilepsy.
Purple Day was founded in 2008 by 9-year-old Cassidy Megan of Canada. Motivated by her own struggles with epilepsy, Cassidy wanted people to understand more about the condition. She named the day Purple Day after the internationally recognised colour for epilepsy – lavender.
Since then, thousands of individuals, schools and workplaces have joined the campaign, wearing purple and hosting Purple Day events and promotions throughout the month of March.
Epilepsy Queensland introduced Purple Day to Australia in 2009 and has the official role of fundraising, selling merchandise and promoting Purple Day throughout Queensland.
Epilepsy is one of the oldest conditions known. In ancient times, seizures were attributed to many causes and influences, but modern scientific research has revealed the seizures are simply the symptoms of an abnormality of the electrical connections in the brain.
Many famous people have been diagnosed with epilepsy, including artist Vincent van Gogh, poet Edgar Allen Poe, author Charles Dickens, American singer Prince and Olympic athlete Florence Griffith Joyner.
At bit closer to home, Queensland’s king of rugby league Wally Lewis revealed he had epilepsy some years after he retired from the game. Earlier this month another legendary retired rugby league player Andrew Johns revealed ‘mystery seizures’ he’d suffered for several years had been attributed to mild epilepsy. Australian Matrix actor Hugo Weaving was diagnosed with the condition when he was 13.
If you want to become involved in Purple Day, head to Epilepsy Queensland’s webpage where you’ll find all sorts of fun ways to raise funds and raise awareness.