Tag Archives: Purple Day

Epilepsy Awareness Month sparking a social-media frenzy

March 21, 2019

By Deron Hamel

Businesses and municipalities across Ontario are getting involved with Epilepsy Awareness Month, and Trevor Gordon is promoting their activities, encouraging dialogue about epilepsy and prompting people to help spread the word about a condition that affects one in every 100 Canadians.

Trevor, Epilepsy Ontario’s manager of social media platforms, says he’s seeing lots of involvement with this year’s awareness campaign. There are galas dedicated to epilepsy awareness. Schools and businesses are being decorated with purple, the official colour of Epilepsy Awareness Month.

Several Ontario landmarks have been lit purple in honour of Epilepsy Awareness Month in March. Clockwise from top, the Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips Square, the CN Tower and Niagara Falls.

Ontario landmarks, including Toronto’s CN Tower, the Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips Square, Niagara Falls and the Port Credit Lighthouse are all being lit up in purple, and this is attracting lots of attention on social media, Trevor says, adding some photos of these landmarks are getting as many as three million views, thousands of shares and hundreds of comments.

“The engagement on our social media right now has never been higher,” he says. “It’s so amazing to see. It’s so amazing that it’s getting people asking why are (there) not more things lit up (and) how do we get (landmarks) lit up.

“So we are encouraging them to contact the specific landmark, and if they need our help, we can assist.”

Supermarket chain Zehrs has been involved in Epilepsy Awareness month since 2012. Zehrs’ 42 stores are selling purple T-shirts embossed with the hashtag #ZehrsPurpleDay as well as asking for donations at cash registers to raise epilepsy awareness and to help support local epilepsy agencies.

Trevor says this campaign is also creating exciting conversations on social media.

“It’s just amazing to see the amount of people saying they bought the T-shirt and watching others tagging friends saying, ‘oh, when you’re by the store can you buy me four shirts?’ ” Trevor says.

“By them tagging the store where they bought it, they are promoting the bigger message and it just keeps going on and on. … Customers are even going into stores and showing the social media messages to Zehrs.”

Trevor notes that the energy behind the Epilepsy Awareness Month campaign is an example of positive outcomes that social media can produce.

“I am seeing such teamwork, and photos and messages are going viral – the amount of traffic our social media is getting right now is phenomenal.”

Epilepsy Awareness Month activities lead up to Purple Day on March 26. Purple Day was launched in 2008 by Cassidy Megan, a then-nine-year-old Nova Scotia girl who was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was seven. Cassidy had one goal for Purple Day: for people to come together globally to learn about epilepsy to reduce its stigma.

On March 26, epilepsy support agencies and people accessing their services will be attending the annual Purple Day at Queen’s Park event to speak with MPPs to raise awareness and discuss challenges.

Agencies buzzing with activity to honour Purple Day

March 25, 2014

Epilepsy support agencies across Ontario are gearing up for Purple Day, the annual international event aimed at raising epilepsy awareness.purple-day-logo-low-res

Recognized every March 26, Purple Day was launched in 2008 by Cassidy Megan, a nine-year-old Nova Scotia girl who is living with epilepsy.

Since then, individuals and organizations worldwide have hosted events and campaigns to raise awareness of the neurological condition that affects more than 65 million people across the globe, including an estimated 300,000 Canadians.

The weeks leading up to Purple Day have been busy at Epilepsy Halton Peel Hamilton. On March 14, the agency was the featured charity at tenor Colm Wilkinson’s performance at Mississauga Living Arts Centre. Wilkinson addressed the audience of about 700 people to talk about March being epilepsy awareness month and informed the crowd of the programs the agency offers.

On March 28 the agency is hosting its annual Purple Gala. The fundraising event will be held at Credit Valley Golf and Country Club in Mississauga.

Among the many other initiatives Epilepsy Halton Peel Hamilton is working on in honour of Purple Day is a campaign to raise awareness of seizure disorders at schools. The agency has developed kits that include tattoos, pencils, bracelets and information packages to educate young people about epilepsy.

“The end goal is to connect with communities, raise awareness and build on upon that,” says Cynthia Milburn, the agency’s executive director.

Epilepsy and Seizure Disorder Resource Centre of South Eastern Ontario hosted its second annual Purple Pancake Breakfast in Kingston and Gananoque on March 22. All money raised from selling blueberry pancakes is going toward helping the agency fund its community education programs.

Like Epilepsy Halton Peel Hamilton, the resource centre is reaching out to school children. The organization will be attending school assemblies on Purple Day to provide information to students and teachers.

“I think the younger we can get people talking about epilepsy the better,” says executive director Susan Harrison. “Kids are very open to learning more and understanding. I don’t think I’ve been to a school yet where there wasn’t a student who had epilepsy, so they’re seeing it, but they’re not understanding it.”

Nikki Porter, the communications liaison at Epilepsy Support Centre’s Windsor/Essex branch, notes how 10 Tim Hortons stores in Windsor are going to be selling doughnuts with purple sprinkles on March 26. The doughnut shops have also hung Purple Day posters at their locations. The 10 stores are owned by one company which was approached with the idea by a Windsor/Essex branch member last year.

The agency, which covers a large catchment area across southwestern Ontario, is getting support from many others across the region. In Chatham-Kent, the Purple Pansy flower boutique is selling bunches of purple tulips and donating proceeds to the Epilepsy Support Centre.

In Elgin, the statue of Jumbo the elephant will be adorned with a 60-foot purple scarf on March 26.

Additionally, official Purple Day proclamations have been made by city councils in Windsor and Amherstburg.

Porter explains the difference she would like to see made from these campaigns.

“I would like to see (this awareness lead to) more acceptance of people with epilepsy in our communities,” she says.

Click here to learn more about Purple Day.

Writer: Deron Hamel

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