"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things."

~ Niccolo Machiavelli, historian and writer

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Supporting Epilepsy Around The World

I can't believe that Purple Day is tomorrow. And I haven't even posted on it yet!

Not because I've forgotten about it - it's just that we've been too busy doing stuff for Purple Day.

Last Saturday was spent at our local Mall with a Purple Day table. We sold bracelets, handed out lots of purple pins, ribbons, cupcakes as well as information on epilepsy and had some great chats. It was so cool to see people walking around the mall wearing the Purple Day pins and the epilepsy ribbon. Especially since the vast majority of them had never heard of Purple Day before.

And besides painting both blogs purple, we've had our local Village Council proclaim March 26th as Purple Day, we have three local schools (elementary, middle and high school) participating and a local day care is involved in the Purple Day Bunny Hop.

Oh yes, my oldest daughter will also be selling purple cupcakes (with the help of some of her friends and the resource staff) at her high school tomorrow, there will be special PPP draw for the kids wearing purple at the middle school (grand prize being a Purple Day Cake for that student's class) and, yesterday, the Kids on the Block landed at the elementary school to put on a presentation for the Grade 5s at the elementary school.

So that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Now for any of you wondering what this Purple Day is and what all the fuss is about ... you should have been here last year!

Just teasing ... Purple Day is about a very special young Nova Scotian. It's about speaking up and stepping forward. About not being afraid. About bringing epilepsy "out of the shadows". And about what one person can do when they make up their mind to something.

9 year old Cassidy Megan didn't want to tell her classmates that she took seizures. That she had epilepsy. She was afraid they would make fun of her.

But when members from the Nova Scotia Epilepsy Association came to Cassidy's classroom and did a presentation, it empowered her to speak up for the first time in front of her classmates and admit that she had epilepsy.

And yet Cassidy went beyond that. She realized that people needed to learn more about epilepsy, "especially that all seizures are not the same and that people with epilepsy are ordinary people just like everyone else". She also wanted kids with epilepsy "to know that they are not alone". And with this realization, Cassidy became a spokesperson for epilepsy.

She went to the principal of her elementary school and asked if they could create and celebrate Purple Day ~ a day when everyone would wear purple to increase awareness about epilepsy. With the help of her mom, Cassidy began contacting politicians, celebrities, non-profits and corporations, asking them all to spread the word about Purple Day and epilepsy.

And with that, Purple Day was born.

From students in classrooms around the world to Paul Shaffer on the Late Show with David Letterman, people wore purple to spread the word about epilepsy on March 26, 2008. Cassidy was interviewed by news outlets across Canada and was even featured in a South African epilepsy newsletter.

Last year, we brought Purple Day to the Annapolis Valley. And to the combined approximately 700 students at a local elementary and middle school. And like I said above, this year we expanded it a little.

How can you fail to be be awed by a story that starts with a 9 year old Nova Scotian girl and ends with purple tea parties and pizza parties, purple cocktail parties and fundraising events, purple art shows and pool competitions, a Calgary City Hall Purple Day Proclamation Celebration and a purple-lit CN Tower and Niagara Falls?

So on behalf of our family and the 300,000 Canadians and 2.5 million Americans and countless others around the world who live with epilepsy each and every single day, we offer a very heartfelt thank you to Cassidy.

I wonder how many people are aware that epilepsy affects more than twice as many Canadians as those who live with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis and cystic fibrosis combined or that one in 100 people has epilepsy? I wonder how many people are aware of many epilepsy issues?

Well, thanks to Cassidy Megan, I am sure the answer is many more now. And that number is growing every year.



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