Purple Day

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Purple Day is a global grassroots event [1] formed with the intention to increase worldwide awareness of epilepsy, and to dispel common myths and fears of this neurological disorder. Further intentions of this movement are to reduce the social stigmas commonly endured by many individuals afflicted with the condition; to provide assurance and advocacy to those living with epilepsy that they are not alone in their ongoing endurance; and to initiate individuals living with the condition to take action in their communities to achieve these aims. The day occurs annually on March 26.

Epilepsy human neurological disease causing seizures

Epilepsy is a group of neurological disorders characterized by recurrent epileptic seizures. Epileptic seizures are episodes that can vary from brief and nearly undetectable periods to long periods of vigorous shaking. These episodes can result in physical injuries, including occasionally broken bones. In epilepsy, seizures have a tendency to recur and, as a rule, have no immediate underlying cause. Isolated seizures that are provoked by a specific cause such as poisoning are not deemed to represent epilepsy. People with epilepsy may be treated differently in various areas of the world and experience varying degrees of social stigma due to their condition.

Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives or stories that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are usually gods, demigods or supernatural humans. Stories of everyday human beings, although often of leaders of some type, are usually contained in legends, as opposed to myths.

Neurological disorder Disease of anatomical entity that is located in the central nervous system or located in the peripheral nervous system

A neurological disorder is any disorder of the nervous system. Structural, biochemical or electrical abnormalities in the brain, spinal cord or other nerves can result in a range of symptoms. Examples of symptoms include paralysis, muscle weakness, poor coordination, loss of sensation, seizures, confusion, pain and altered levels of consciousness. There are many recognized neurological disorders, some relatively common, but many rare. They may be assessed by neurological examination, and studied and treated within the specialities of neurology and clinical neuropsychology.


Formation and history

Paul Shaffer of the Late Show with David Letterman with Purple Day founder, Cassidy Megan Paul Shaffer &Cassidy.jpg
Paul Shaffer of the Late Show with David Letterman with Purple Day founder, Cassidy Megan

The concept of Purple Day was initiated by a 9-year-old named Cassidy Megan, and was motivated by her own struggle with epilepsy. [2] The Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia helped to develop Cassidy's idea, and the first Purple Day event was held on March 26, 2008, and is now known as the Purple Day for Epilepsy campaign. [3]

Nova Scotia Province of Canada

Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime Provinces, and one of the four provinces that form Atlantic Canada. Its provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the second-smallest of Canada's ten provinces, with an area of 55,284 square kilometres (21,300 sq mi), including Cape Breton and another 3,800 coastal islands. As of 2016, the population was 923,598. Nova Scotia is Canada's second-most-densely populated province, after Prince Edward Island, with 17.4 inhabitants per square kilometre (45/sq mi).

In 2009, the New York-based Anita Kaufmann Foundation and Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia joined to launch Purple Day internationally and increase the involvement of numerous organizations, schools, businesses, politicians and celebrities around the world. On March 26, 2009 over 100,000 students, 95 workplaces and 116 politicians participated in Purple Day. In March 2009, the official USA Purple Day Party launch was organized by the Anita Kaufmann Foundation. Canadian Paul Shaffer of the Late Show with David Letterman attended the official launch at Dylan's Candy Bar in New York City.

Paul Shaffer Canadian musician

Paul Allen Wood Shaffer, CM is a Canadian singer, composer, actor, author, comedian and multi-instrumentalist who served as David Letterman's musical director, band leader and sidekick on the entire run of both Late Night with David Letterman (1982–1993) and Late Show with David Letterman (1993–2015).

<i>Late Show with David Letterman</i> American television talk show

Late Show with David Letterman is an American late-night talk show hosted by David Letterman on CBS, the first iteration of the Late Show franchise. The show debuted on August 30, 1993, and was produced by Letterman's production company, Worldwide Pants, and CBS Television Studios. The show's music director and leader of the house band, the CBS Orchestra, was Paul Shaffer. The head writer was Matt Roberts and the announcer was originally Bill Wendell, then Alan Kalter. Of the major U.S. late-night programs, Late Show ranked second in cumulative average viewers over time and third in number of episodes over time. In most U.S. markets the show aired from 11:35 p.m. to 12:35 a.m. Eastern and Pacific Time, and recorded Monday to Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m., and Thursdays at 3:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The second Thursday episode usually aired on Friday of that week.

Dylans Candy Bar

Dylan's Candy Bar is a chain of boutique candy shops and candy supplier currently located in New York City; East Hampton, New York; Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami Beach, as well as in wholesale venues around the globe. It is owned by Dylan Lauren.

In March 2012, Purple Day received the Royal Assent and became a legal day for epilepsy awareness in Canada. [4]

Canada Country in North America

Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Its southern border with the United States, stretching some 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi), is the world's longest bi-national land border. Canada's capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.

In December 2015, Electronics retailer Dick Smith had arranged a major corporate partnership with Epilepsy Action Australia to support Purple Day in Australia with a $50,000 cash sponsorship, prizes and exclusive distribution of Purple Day merchandise. [5] [6] A week prior to Purple Day celebrations in 2016, Dick Smith was placed in receivership. [7] Later, the Retail Food Group provided a $50,000 donation to match Dick Smith's previously promised sponsorship. [8] [9]

Dick Smith (retailer) international electronics retailer

Dick Smith Holdings Limited was an Australian chain of retail stores that sold consumer electronics goods, hobbyist electronic components, and electronic project kits. The chain expanded successfully into New Zealand and unsuccessfully into several other countries. The company was founded in Sydney in 1968 by Dick Smith and owned by him and his wife until they sold 60% to Woolworths Limited in 1980, the remaining 40% two years later. The company closed in 2016, within several years of its acquisition by Anchorage Capital Partners.

Epilepsy Action Australia is an Australian charity providing education and support services to children and adults in Australia with epilepsy and other seizure disorders. The group is made up of caseworkers, registered nurses and other service providers, and aims to meet individuals' social, emotional and seizure management needs, with information, referral services and consultancy for professional organisations.

Australia Country in Oceania

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 26 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide.


A purple brooch bearing an inscription pertaining to epilepsy Epilepsy Warrior Brooch May 2018 Purple Day.jpg
A purple brooch bearing an inscription pertaining to epilepsy

The Purple Day is held annually on March 26. Supporters are encouraged to wear a purple-coloured item of clothing. Lavender (and thus its color purple) is strongly associated with epilepsy because it has even been proven to act as a central nervous system relaxant and anticonvulsant. [10]

Anticonvulsants are a diverse group of pharmacological agents used in the treatment of epileptic seizures. Anticonvulsants are also increasingly being used in the treatment of bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder, since many seem to act as mood stabilizers, and for the treatment of neuropathic pain. Anticonvulsants suppress the excessive rapid firing of neurons during seizures. Anticonvulsants also prevent the spread of the seizure within the brain.

The goal of Purple Day is to increase general public awareness, to reduce the social stigma endured by many individuals with the condition, and to empower individuals living with epilepsy to take action in their communities. [11]

Purple Day is celebrated in Australia to fund various epilepsy support organisations including Epilepsy Australia, Epilepsy Queensland, and Epilepsy Foundation.

During the 2018 edition of Purple Day, the Epilepsy Care Alliance called on the technology sector to push further innovations for the treatment for epilepsy. [12]

Guinness World Record

In 2017, a Guinness World Record was reached during Purple Day by the Anita Kaufmann Foundation for the achievement of the largest ever epilepsy training session. [13]

See also

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Hemispherectomy is a very rare neurosurgical procedure in which a cerebral hemisphere is removed, disconnected, or disabled. This procedure is used to treat a variety of seizure disorders where the source of the epilepsy is localized to a broad area of a single hemisphere of the brain, notably Rasmussen's encephalitis. About one in three patients with epilepsy will continue to have persistent seizures despite epileptic drug therapy. Hemispherectomy is reserved for the most extreme cases of this one-third in which the individual’s seizures are irresponsive to medications or other less invasive surgeries and significantly impair functioning or put the patient at risk of further complications. The procedure successfully cures seizures in about 85%-90% of patients. Additionally, it is also known to often markedly improve the cognitive functioning and development of the individual. Subtotal hemispherectomy sparing sensorimotor cortex can be performed with successful seizure control expected in 70-80% of patients. Even with the presence of widespread unilateral epileptogenicity or anatomic/functional imaging abnormalities, complete hemispherectomy can often be avoided, particularly when there is little hemiparesis.

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Focal seizures are seizures which affect initially only one hemisphere of the brain. The brain is divided into two hemispheres, each consisting of four lobes – the frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital lobes. A focal seizure is generated in and affects just one part of the brain – a whole hemisphere or part of a lobe. Symptoms will vary according to where the seizure occurs. In the frontal lobe symptoms may include a wave-like sensation in the head; in the temporal lobe, a feeling of déjà vu; in the parietal lobe, a numbness or tingling; and in the occipital lobe, visual disturbance or hallucination.

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The Epilepsy Society is the largest medical charity in the field of epilepsy in the United Kingdom, providing services for people with epilepsy for over 100 years. Based in Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire, UK, its stated mission is "to enhance the quality of life of people affected by epilepsy by promoting research, education and public awareness and by delivering specialist medical care and support services." The Epilepsy Society has close partnerships with the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN) and the UCL Institute of Neurology, both located in Queen Square, London.

Generalized tonic–clonic seizure a type of generalized seizure that affects the entire brain

A generalized tonic–clonic seizure, commonly known as a grand mal seizure or GTCS, is a type of generalized seizure that produces bilateral, convulsive tonic and clonic muscle contractions. Tonic–clonic seizures are the seizure type most commonly associated with epilepsy and seizures in general and the most common seizure associated with metabolic imbalances. It is a misconception that they are the sole type of seizure, however, as they are the main seizure type in only ~10% of those with epilepsy.

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Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy, sometimes referred to by its initials CURE, is a non-profit organization based in Chicago, Illinois. The organization is focused on raising awareness and funds for research targeting a cure for epilepsy. It was founded in September 1998 by Susan and David Axelrod, driven by their daughter starting to have severe seizures when she was a child.

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  1. epilepsysociety.org.uk
  2. Flora Carr (March 26, 2018). "People Are Wearing Purple Today for Epilepsy Awareness Day. Here's What That Is". Time.com. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  3. "Gold, silver, bronze...and now purple! Another inspiring Canadian kicks off Epilepsy Awarenss Month". www.newswire.ca. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  4. Nic Canning (June 29, 2012). "Purple Day now legally recognized in Canada". Newswire.ca. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  5. "Dick Smith collapse leaves epilepsy charity high and dry". ABC News. January 7, 2016. Retrieved July 2, 2017.
  6. Low, Catie (January 8, 2016). "Collapse leaves charity in a bind". The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 3.
  7. "Dick Smith enters receivership due to bad sales". ABC News. January 5, 2016. Retrieved July 2, 2017.
  8. "Charity in limbo gets help". The Age (Melbourne). January 19, 2016. p. 25.
  9. "Sweet spot for Epilepsy Action Australia". St Marys Star. March 17, 2016.
  10. Ali Venosa (March 25, 2016). "Epilepsy Awareness Day: 4 Things You Didn't Know About The Neurological Disorder". Medicaldaily.com. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  11. "Three Cheers for Purple!". Canada Newswire. March 23, 2011.
  12. Amelia Heathman (March 26, 2018). "Purple Day: Epilepsy alliance urge tech investments to improve patient care". Standard.co.uk. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  13. "Largest epilepsy training session". Guinness World Records. Retrieved July 2, 2017.

Cited works and further reading