Parliamentarians encouraged to promote epilepsy education
OTTAWA, March 26, 2013 /CNW/ - Today, Purple Day for Epilepsy is being
observed for the first time in Ottawa and across the country as the
official day for epilepsy awareness, since the Purple Day Act passed
with unanimous support in June 2012.
On Parliament Hill, members of the Canadian Epilepsy Alliance (CEA) have
gathered with the founder of Purple Day, 14-year-old Cassidy Megan, and
her M.P. and author of the Purple Day Act, the Hon. Geoff Regan, to
spread epilepsy awareness among Parliamentarians and encourage them to
promote education about the disorder within their constituencies.
"When I first found out I had epilepsy, I was scared and thought I was
the only one with epilepsy. I didn't want anyone to know about my
seizures because I felt embarrassed and alone," said Cassidy Megan. "I
wanted people to know there are different types of seizures and that
they shouldn't be afraid. I am so thankful to Mr. Regan who has helped me and others because now
we have a special day to celebrate epilepsy awareness in Canada. The
more people learn about epilepsy, and with the right support and care,
people like me can enjoy life, just like everyone else."
All-party support for epilepsy legislation
In Canada, Purple Day was first recognized as the official day for
epilepsy awareness on June 28, 2012, in an Act of Parliament put
forward by the Hon. Geoff Regan, M.P. for Halifax West. Bill C-278 met
with resounding all-party support and became the only legislation of
its kind in Canada. The Act demonstrates meaningful support to the
300,000 Canadians living with epilepsy and helps to reduce the stigma
and discrimination that is often associated with the disorder.
"I am proud to be part of this initiative, which is helping to empower
people with epilepsy to speak out about their disorder," said Hon.
Geoff Regan, author of the Purple Day Act. "I am grateful to Cassidy
Megan and the Canadian Epilepsy Alliance for their tireless efforts to
improve the quality of life for people with epilepsy."
Purple Day increases awareness, reduces stigma and empowers individuals
living with epilepsy to take action in their communities. Canadians are
encouraged to learn more about epilepsy throughout the month of March,
culminating with Purple Day on March 26. There are hundreds of
ambassadors in 70 countries worldwide that will be participating in the
2013 Purple Day activities, by wearing purple or getting involved in
Purple Day awareness or fundraising events.
Common disorder not well understood
Epilepsy affects over 300,000 Canadians and over 50 million people
worldwide. Epilepsy is characterized as a group of disorders of the
central nervous system, specifically the brain, and is characterized by
recurrent unprovoked seizures. Despite its prevalence, epilepsy is not
well-understood. According to The Impact of Epilepsy on Canadians survey conducted in late 2011, many Canadians living with epilepsy
experience social isolation, work barriers and relationship issues.
"Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders in the world,
but too many people still don't know the facts," said Gail Dempsey,
president of the Canadian Epilepsy Alliance. "By bringing epilepsy
awareness to our government representatives on this historic day, we
hope to deepen all Canadians' understanding of the disorder, dispel the
myths surrounding it, and improve the lives of those living with
About Purple Day
Purple Day for Epilepsy is held each year on March 26 and is dedicated
to raising awareness about epilepsy. It helps reduce stigma and
empowers individuals living with epilepsy to take action in their
communities. Purple Day was founded in 2008 by nine-year-old Cassidy
Megan of Nova Scotia, and named after the internationally recognized
colour for epilepsy, lavender. Purple Day was launched internationally
in 2009. The Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia and the Anita Kaufmann
Foundation in the United States are the global partners for the Purple
Day campaign. UCB Canada Inc. is the exclusive Canadian
biopharmaceutical partner for the 2013 Purple Day campaign. For more
information, please visit www.purpleday.org.
About the Canadian Epilepsy Alliance
The Canadian Epilepsy Alliance (CEA) is a Canada-wide network of
grassroots organizations dedicated to the promotion of independence and
quality of life for people with epilepsy and their families, through
support services, information, advocacy, and public awareness. For more
information, please visit www.epilepsymatters.com.
SOURCE: Canadian Epilepsy Alliance
For further information:
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Cohn & Wolfe
(416) 400-6352 - cell phone on-site