Purple Day

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Purple Day is a global grassroots event formed with the intention to increase worldwide awareness of epilepsy, and to dispel common myths and fears of this neurological disorder. Further intentions of this movement are to reduce the social stigmas commonly endured by many individuals afflicted with the condition; to provide assurance and advocacy to those living with epilepsy that they are not alone in their ongoing endurance; and to initiate individuals living with the condition to take action in their communities to achieve these aims. The day occurs annually on March 26.

Formation and history[edit]

Paul Shaffer of the Late Show with David Letterman with Purple Day founder, Cassidy Megan

The concept of Purple Day was initiated by a 9-year-old named Cassidy Megan, and was motivated by her own struggle with epilepsy.[1] The Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia helped to develop Cassidy's idea, and the first Purple Day event was held on March 26, 2008, and is now known as the Purple Day for Epilepsy campaign.[2]

In 2009, the New York-based Anita Kaufmann Foundation and Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia joined to launch Purple Day internationally and increase the involvement of numerous organizations, schools, businesses, politicians and celebrities around the world. On March 26, 2009 over 100,000 students, 95 workplaces and 116 politicians participated in Purple Day. In March 2009, the official USA Purple Day Party launch was organized by the Anita Kaufmann Foundation. Canadian Paul Shaffer of the Late Show with David Letterman attended the official launch at Dylan's Candy Bar in New York City.

In March 2012, Purple Day received the Royal Assent and became a legal day for epilepsy awareness in Canada.[3]

In December 2015, Electronics retailer Dick Smith had arranged a major corporate partnership with Epilepsy Action Australia to support Purple Day in Australia with a $50,000 cash sponsorship, prizes and exclusive distribution of Purple Day merchandise.[4][5] A week prior to Purple Day celebrations in 2016, Dick Smith was placed in receivership.[6] Later, the Retail Food Group provided a $50,000 donation to match Dick Smith's previously promised sponsorship.[7][8]


A purple brooch bearing an inscription pertaining to epilepsy

The Purple Day is held annually on March 26. Supporters are encouraged to wear a purple-coloured item of clothing. Lavender (and thus its color purple) is strongly associated with epilepsy because it has even been proven to act as a central nervous system relaxant and anticonvulsant.[9]

The goal of Purple Day is to increase general public awareness, to reduce the social stigma endured by many individuals with the condition, and to empower individuals living with epilepsy to take action in their communities.[10]

Purple Day is celebrated in Australia to fund various epilepsy support organisations including Epilepsy Australia, Epilepsy Queensland, and Epilepsy Foundation.

During the 2018 edition of Purple Day, the Epilepsy Care Alliance called on the technology sector to push further innovations for the treatment for epilepsy.[11]

Guinness World Record[edit]

In 2017, a Guinness World Record was reached during Purple Day by the Anita Kaufmann Foundation for the achievement of the largest ever epilepsy training session.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Flora Carr (March 26, 2018). "People Are Wearing Purple Today for Epilepsy Awareness Day. Here's What That Is". Time.com. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  2. ^ "Gold, silver, bronze...and now purple! Another inspiring Canadian kicks off Epilepsy Awarenss Month". www.newswire.ca. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  3. ^ Nic Canning (June 29, 2012). "Purple Day now legally recognized in Canada". Newswire.ca. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  4. ^ "Dick Smith collapse leaves epilepsy charity high and dry". ABC News. January 7, 2016. Retrieved July 2, 2017.
  5. ^ Low, Catie (January 8, 2016). "Collapse leaves charity in a bind". The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 3.
  6. ^ "Dick Smith enters receivership due to bad sales". ABC News. January 5, 2016. Retrieved July 2, 2017.
  7. ^ "Charity in limbo gets help". The Age (Melbourne). January 19, 2016. p. 25.
  8. ^ "Sweet spot for Epilepsy Action Australia". St Marys Star. March 17, 2016.
  9. ^ Ali Venosa (March 25, 2016). "Epilepsy Awareness Day: 4 Things You Didn't Know About The Neurological Disorder". Medicaldaily.com. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  10. ^ "Three Cheers for Purple!". Canada Newswire. March 23, 2011.
  11. ^ Amelia Heathman (March 26, 2018). "Purple Day: Epilepsy alliance urge tech investments to improve patient care". Standard.co.uk. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  12. ^ "Largest epilepsy training session". Guinness World Records. Retrieved July 2, 2017.

Cited works and further reading[edit]

  • Grant, Colin (2016). A Smell of Burning: The Story of Epilepsy. London: Boxtree Books. ISBN 978-0-224-10182-0.

External links[edit]