People are encouraged to wear a purple garment to raise awareness about epilepsy and its different forms. Purple Day has been held every year since 2008 around the world on March 26th, and last year alone, tens of thousands of people in more than 85 countries on different continents celebrated this day by wearing something purple and taking part in initiatives on epilepsy.
How did Purple Day come about? Cassidy's story
It all started with the story of Cassidy Megan, a 7-year-old Canadian girl living just outside Halifax, Nova Scotia. Cassidy was diagnosed with epilepsy. The child's reaction to the illness was one of bewilderment and fear of being mocked and marginalised by her friends. That was until the Epilepsy Association of the Maritimes (EAM) was invited to her school to shed light on the disease. Cassidy was surprised to discover that many other people suffered from the same condition as she did and to see her firends’ reaction of interest. From that moment on, she gained a new confidence and decided to reveal to everyone that she too had epilepsy. With determination, Cassidy then asked the head teacher of her school to dedicate an entire day to epilepsy: a recurring day where all people could gain awareness of epilepsy and those with epilepsy would understand that they are not alone. Since in Canada March was already the month of awareness for this disease, March 26th was chosen to mark this occasion. Cassidy renamed the day Purple Day. The EAM, which from the beginning supported the initiative alongside Cassidy, spread the celebration of Purple Day across the country until, on 28 June 2012, Canada officially recognised this special occasion, which is now acknowledged globally.
Angelini Pharma marks Purple Day with a event
To mark the occasion, Angelini Pharma has organised an event for all its employees, 'Every Step Closer in Epilepsy', which will be held on 23 March at its headquarters and will see people joining virtually from Europe and the US.
The event will be a further opportunity for the company both to demonstrate its support and to continue raising awareness of the disease among Angelini Pharma's internal community. CEO Jacopo Andreose, President of the International Bureau for Epilepsy Francesca Sofia, Dr Shanika Samarasekera of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, Chief Scientific Officer Rafal Kaminski and Chief Medical Officer Agnese Cattaneo will speak at the event to discuss the disease and the global strategies underway also at the institutional level to provide support to patients with the disease.
A day in the name of knowledge
Epilepsy has been recognised as a social disease by the World Health Organisation. About 50 million people worldwide are affected by epilepsy. Six million of them are in Europe, with 400,000 new cases registered every year: one new case every minute.
Spreading knowledge about the disease, at multiple levels of society, is crucial to progress with treatment, but also and above all to help people suffering from it to feel welcome and less lonely, as Cassidy and her Purple Day teach us.