March 26 is Purple Day, bringing awareness to, and supporting, people with epilepsy.
Having epilepsy, a somewhat common neurological disorder, can often have more implications that just the physical condition. It can be isolating, unnerving, unpredictable. Because it’s a kind of “invisible condition,” you may be unaware that you have people in your life who struggle with epilepsy. Understanding not only the physical manifestations of epilepsy, but also the social and psychological manifestations, helps to reduce stigmas about the disorder, create advocacy for people with the condition and encourage people with epilepsy to act in their communities.
On March 26, 2008, then nine-year-old Canadian, Cassidy Megan, determined to bring awareness to and empathy for the condition she struggled with herself, established Purple Day. Since then, Purple day has grown to be celebrated in 85 countries as of 2022.
Purple Day is meant to reduce stigmas about the disorder, create advocacy for people with the condition and encourage people with epilepsy to act in their communities. A person with epilepsy is at a higher risk for having reoccurring seizures, which are bursts of electrical activity in the brain causing involuntary movements of the body. Not all seizures are equal; some can require medical intervention, while others can be so subtle that it seems like the person is just “spacing out.” Being aware of the condition, and who in your life might be living with it, is as much about safety as it is about inclusion.
Some facts about epilepsy:
- Epilepsy is not contagious.
- 1 in 100 people are estimated to have epilepsy.
- 65 million people around the world have epilepsy.
- 3.4 million people in the US have epilepsy.
- In many parts of the world, people with epilepsy are discriminated.
- Epilepsy can be treated with medication and sometimes surgery.
- It is not a psychological disorder but a neurological disorder.
What can your organization do to support Purple Day and bringing awareness?
- Wear purple on Purple Day!
- Purple scones? Purple Cake? Purple cupcakes? Purple punch?
- Start a team to join one of the walkathons held near you.
- Consider ways your company is acting to support all types of disability.
- Visit and share the Epilepsy Foundation website for more info and resources.
Bringing awareness and helping reduce social stigmas of conditions such as epilepsy can be part of an organizations DEIB work as it tries to be more diverse and inclusive of people from a variety of backgrounds and life experiences. If your organization could use some help, consider contacting us here at FIT HR as we love helping organizations achieve their goals, perform better, and be great places for all to work.