Nine year old Cassidy Megan, living in Nova Scotia, Canada, suffered from epilepsy—a frightening and unpredictable neurological condition which causes seizures. If her condition had not been depressing enough, it was compounded by the public’s misinformation on the subject. Add to that the sense of isolation an epileptic might feel.
An estimated 65 million people world-wide are afflicted with epilepsy—approximately one percent of the population. The word “epilepsy” derives from the Greek “to possess” or “to seize.” Unflattering ancient accounts—including in the Bible—tell of people “possessed by demons.” Some of these individuals may have been afflicted with epilepsy and, surely, lived lives of oppression and ostracism. Thankfully, today, people are less likely to ascribe demonic possession—but the lack of knowledge is still widespread.
In 2008, then nine years old, Cassidy decided to create a Canadian Epilepsy Awareness Day. The next year, people in other countries decided to join-in, making it an international observance. On Monday, 26 March, people are encouraged to wear a purple garment, breast ribbon, or other purple accessory. The hope is to increase awareness of the condition, perhaps start a few conversations about epilepsy, and, perhaps, dispel a few myths that still exist.
Why purple? In some cultures, purple is associated with the feeling of isolation or loneliness, a sensation familiar to some epileptics. Cassidy hoped that other people with her condition might know they are not alone.
Not sure what purple garment you might wear today? Perhaps the pair of purple enameled cufflinks, pictured above. Please click on the photo to learn more about them.
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