Wear Purple for Epilepsy Awareness Day


Marketing Manager

In 2008, 7-year old, Cassidy Megan of Nova Scotia, Canada, created the idea of wearing purple to bring awareness to epilepsy and to comfort those with seizures. This year, the international day for epilepsy awareness is March 26th.  

An estimated 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy – that’s approximately one percent of our general population! Throughout history, many famous people were known to or suspected of having epilepsy, including: Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, Joan of Arc, and Harriet Tubman.

According to the Purple Day®  organization’s website, epilepsy is a neurological disorder of the central nervous system, specifically of the brain, and can cause someone to have recurrent seizures. Seizures cause a change in function or behavior and may take many different forms:

  • a blank stare
  • muscle spasms
  • uncontrolled movements
  • altered awareness
  • odd sensations
  • convulsions

Seizures can occur rarely or very frequently, meaning numerous times a day. While not every seizure is preceded by a specific event or circumstance, some common triggers may be:

  • flickering lights
  • lack of sleep
  • missing meals
  • low seizure medication levels
  • illicit drug use
  • stress, excitement, or emotional upset

Epilepsy can be present at any age, but its onset is usually during childhood or during the later years in life. Sometimes, children outgrow their seizures. While there is no cure for epilepsy, it is highly treatable – 70% of people with epilepsy can gain seizure control from one medication. Additional treatment includes: combination medication use, surgery, diet therapy, and nerve stimulation.

If you witness someone have a seizure, the most important thing to do is stay calm, reassure the person and keep them safe.  Remember these tips:

  • do not restrain the person
  • move dangerous objects out of the way
  • loosen anything tight around the neck
  • do not put anything in the mouth
  • gently roll the person to their side – if they are having a convulsive type seizure, as the seizure subsides – being on their side will allow saliva and other fluids to drain away and keep the airway clear

In the United States, the Anita Kaufmann Foundation is the global sponsor for Purple Day®. You can help promote Purple Day® in your community by:

  • contacting local or national politicians and ask them to wear purple
  • offer to set up an educational display in your workplace or school to promote education about epilepsy and seizures
  • share information about epilepsy awareness on social media
  • wear purple
Photo by Ridderhof on Pixabay