In 2008, Purple Day began with a nine-year-old Nova Scotian student, Cassidy Megan, who was diagnosed with epilepsy. In her spirit to raise understanding about epilepsy, she created Purple Day, which is now a recognized day of awareness. Purple Day at York University will take place on March 26 from 10am to 4pm in Central Square.
Together, the Student Association of Health Management, Policy & Informatics (SAHMPI) at York University and Epilepsy Toronto are hosting an information table in Central Square. The table will feature an outreach team that will work to educate University community members about epilepsy. “Purple Day is important because we are all somehow impacted by epilepsy, through our own lives, or through those that are close to us,” says Sayed Mustafa Sayedi, president of SAHMPI. “We might also be misinformed about this condition because much of our understanding comes from unreliable media.”
Through engaging interactive and informative activities, SAHMPI hopes to involve students, faculty and the community, and teach them about Purple Day by providing a glimpse into the lived experiences of those with epilepsy. “As members of a university, we have a responsibility to educate ourselves, remove the stigma surrounding epilepsy and open our minds to what the realities of living with epilepsy are, regardless of our own health condition,” says Sayedi.
Epilepsy Toronto is a non-profit agency that offers support, counselling and employment, as well as educational events and advocacy for those affected by epilepsy. Every year on this day, Epilepsy Toronto hosts events throughout the city to bring awareness and education to the public. Across Canada, one in every 100 people live with epilepsy. Purple Day stands as a reminder that they are not forgotten.
From the launch of SAHMPI’s Professional Series to their annual Agents of Change panel discussion, which included themes such as mental health, SAHMPI strives to connect the York community by promoting leadership and providing knowledge to build a strong network of current and future health-care leaders.
By Shanice Grocia, communications assistant