Purple Day, epilepsy awareness day, turned 8 on March 26
'I didn't want people to feel alone and afraid like I did,' says founder Cassidy Megan
Purple Day, a worldwide event held on March 26 in support of people with epilepsy that raises awareness about the condition, has Nova Scotian roots.
Founder Cassidy Megan is from the province. She started the event in 2008 when she was just nine.
"In Grade 3, I didn't want people to feel alone and afraid like I did. I wanted them to know there were other people out there and what to do if they see someone having a seizure," she said.
In Nova Scotia, about 10,000 people have been diagnosed with epilepsy, while about 300,000 Canadians have the neurological disorder and 50 million people have it worldwide.
According to the Mayo Clinic, "nerve cell activity in the brain becomes disrupted, causing seizures or periods of unusual behavior, sensations and sometimes loss of consciousness," says its website.
In the event someone is suffering a seizure, Megan would like people to know how they can help. She says people should put something under the head of the person having the seizure, never put anything in their mouth and if the seizure lasts more than five minutes, an ambulance should be called.
"After the seizure is done, make sure you tell them it's OK and tell them what happened," she said.
Endorsement from the prime minister
This year, Purple Day has a letter of support on its website from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
"I really liked that. It was really awesome to see that happening. I wasn't expecting it, but I'm glad to have his support," she said.
Megan first met Trudeau in 2013, which is when Canada celebrated its first official Purple Day.
She says she loves hearing stories about what people are doing for Purple Day, how the day has helped them and what the day means to them.
"It's definitely important to know you have someone else out there that's just like you," said Megan.
With files from Elizabeth Chiu