CN Tower to be lit purple tonight for epilepsy awareness day

Mar 26, 2024 | Canadian News, Headlines

Both the CN Tower and Niagara Falls will be lit in purple tonight. to help mark Purple Day, which is dedicated to raising awareness of epilepsy.

More than two thousand Canadians have been diagnosed with the neurological disorder.

The first Purple Day was organized in 2008 by a then 9-year-old Cassidy Megan.

“I want to do this to someone having a seizure, and to let people with epilepsy know that they aren’t alone and that they don’t have to be afraid to talk about it or share that they have,” Megan told Humber News.

She said she was inspired by her struggles with epilepsy and wanted to turn something as scary as a diagnosis into a community where anyone struggling could feel welcome.

Megan was encouraged by a presentation done at her school by the Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia. At first, Megan was afraid to tell her friends about her Epilepsy but she gained the confidence to share her condition because of the presentation.

This experience taught Megan that sharing her story had the potential to reach people and have the same impact the presentation did on her.

So she and the Epilepsy Association of The Maritimes partnered with The Anita Kaufmann Foundation to launch Purple Day internationally.

People with the disorder can face social stigma and discrimination, so Megan said the day is meant to “help raise awareness for epilepsy, erase the stigma, and educate the public.”

Canadian Epilepsy Alliance communications representative Trevor Gordon said many local landmarks will be lit purple tonight, including the Port Credit lighthouse and “multiple city halls all over the GTA and across Ontario.”

Epilepsy causes seizures which can take many different forms, including a blank stare, uncontrolled movements, altered awareness, odd sensations, or convulsions.

Often, seizures are brief and can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes.

According to the Canadian Epilepsy Alliance website “70 per cent of people with epilepsy can gain seizure freedom with medication alone.”

Both Gordon and Megan said anyone can participate in Purple Day.

“Whether it be a person that has epilepsy, whether it be you have a friend or a family that has epilepsy and you’re wanting to support that person, maybe you have zero connection to epilepsy, it’s a great way of learning about what epilepsy is,” Gordon said.

Megan said posting on platforms is a way for people to participate. “Something as simple as just posting on your social media app, or a fact or resources is so much help.”

The main thing Megan hopes people take away is that epilepsy doesn’t define a person and that they are like anyone else.

She said, “We are our own person; we can live our normal lives, we can get jobs, have a family, we can live independently, and we can do what we want to do.”

“Sometimes we might have to put in adaptations. But that doesn’t mean we have limitations. Because we can still find ways that work for us to be able to do them, and to see us as not our epilepsy but as a person.”