The 5th annual Purple Day aims to address myths, reduce stigma and shine a
'purple light' on the facts when it comes to epilepsy in Canada
HALIFAX, March 26, 2014 /CNW/ - The Canadian Epilepsy Alliance (CEA) and
those affected by the neurological disorder are proud to speak out on
March 26 - the fifth annual Purple Day - in support of epilepsy
awareness. The grassroots awareness initiative, which was officially
recognized by parliament in 2013, encourages an open dialogue about
epilepsy to elevate understanding and awareness among Canadians.
To establish exactly how much Canadians know about epilepsy and the
official awareness day, the CEA conducted a survey with Leger The
Research Intelligence Group and asked Canadians some pointed questions
- the results were surprising. When it comes to common associations
with the colour purple, respondents were quick to make the link to an
array of fruits and vegetables, gemstones, as well as, the historical
significance to royalty, but only a shocking three per cent drew a
parallel to epilepsy for which purple is the official colour.
Epilepsy, defined as recurring seizures are a daily reality for the more
than 300,000 Canadians who live with the disorder. The CEA was curious
to understand what gaps exist when it comes to the knowledge Canadians
have about seizures and the results of the survey varied.
Canadians were least able to identify the specifics of seizures - with
only 56 per cent able to correctly identify that seizures last only a
minute or two and only 41 per cent able to correctly identify that
there are multiple types of seizures. That said, more than two-thirds
of Canadians knew that epilepsy is a neurological disease and that some
patients might experience advanced warnings of an imminent seizure.
"Each year on March 26th, we want to do our best to make epilepsy part of your conversation at
home," says Cassidy Megan who founded Purple Day at the age of 9.
"Since we started to speak out about epilepsy five years ago, the
awareness activity has grown. We are gradually making a big difference
in Canada, as well as, in countries around the world when it comes to
better understanding this disorder and we won't stop here."
Despite some awareness of epilepsy there still exists a great deal of
misinformation that needs to be addressed. The Canadian Epilepsy
Alliance hopes that Canadians will take a moment on Purple Day to learn
one new thing about epilepsy and how the people who live with the
disorder are impacted on a daily basis.
"I was surprised by some of the results of the survey and am hopeful
that through the positive persistence of the local epilepsy groups,
that we can address old myths and inaccurate information," says Gail
Dempsey, President of the Canadian Epilepsy Alliance. "One of our
goals this year is to continue to build upon what Canadians know about
epilepsy seizures, especially among those first-responders who are
typically the main point of contact when an individual has a seizure.
Identifying the signs of a seizure and quickly addressing the situation
are critical - this is an area we hope to enhance for those first-line
Purple Day increases awareness, reduces stigma and empowers individuals
living with epilepsy and their families to take action in their
communities. Canadians are encouraged to learn more about epilepsy
today and all year long. There are hundreds of ambassadors in 70
countries worldwide who will be participating in the 2014 Purple Day
activities, by wearing purple or getting involved in Purple Day
awareness or fundraising events.
About Purple Day
Purple Day for Epilepsy is held each year on March 26th 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
nationally and internationally by the Canadian Epilepsy Alliance. The
Anita Kaufmann foundation joined as a partner in 2009. Eisai Limited
is the official partner for Purple Day 2014. For more information,
please visit www.purpleday.org or www.epilepsymatters.ca.
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.ca.
About the Survey
A survey of 1500 Canadians was completed online between March 4th and
March 7th, 2014 using Leger's online panel, LegerWeb. A probability
sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.5%, 19
times out of 20.
Image with caption: "Understanding Epilepsy Infographic (CNW Group/Canadian Epilepsy Alliance)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140326_C6986_PHOTO_EN_38328.jpg
SOURCE: Canadian Epilepsy Alliance
For further information:
Deirdre Floyd, VP CEA -Chair Purple Day
902 430 3602