N.S. girl's epilepsy awareness day hits Parliament

A Nova Scotian girl started a Purple Day campaign to promote epilepsy awareness, and now it's one step closer to becoming official in the House of Commons.

A Nova Scotian girl started a Purple Day campaign to promote epilepsy awareness, and now it's one step closer to becoming official in the House of Commons.

"I started Purple Day because I thought I was the only one with epilepsy and I wanted other people to know that they're not alone and to see if there's others out there," Cassidy Megan told CBC News.

She started the idea in 2008 at school — everyone at school would wear purple in epilepsy awareness.

"She emailed every member of Parliament that year. She, we started the Facebook group and it just snowballed from there," said Angela McCarthy, Megan's mother.

The MP for Cassidy's riding tabled a private members bill to officially declare March 26 as Purple Day.

"She'd had her first seizure at the age of seven and I think like so many people, especially young people who have epilepsy and experienced a seizure, they see that people don't know what to do, that they don't know what it is," said Geoff Regan, MP for Halifax West.

That bill has just passed third reading with unanimous support and is now on its way to the Senate.

"The process of actually doing this, of having it debated in Parliament, having it discussed, has value because that too creates awareness," Regan added.

The hope is that will lead to more people learning the real facts about epilepsy — how to recognize types of seizures, what to do in the event of a seizure and when to seek medical help.

"Her seizures can come and go. Some days she can have none, and there's sometimes she can have two or three a week. Her medication helps a lot. It controls a lot of the seizures," McCarthy said.

It's not yet clear if the bill will pass in time for this year's Purple Day.

"I hope, I'm not quite sure, but I hope," Megan said.

"I'd love it if they could pass it very quickly but I'm confident that it will be passed in time for next year's March 26 Purple Day and preferable for this year," Regan said.

Megan said she is pleased to see her idea spread so far.

"It feels really nice and I'm really proud and happy with how big it's gotten and how far the word's gotten out," she said.