NZ Turns Purple for Epilepsy

( 26 March is International Purple Day for epilepsy, and Epilepsy New Zealand is doing its bit to ensure it celebrates that day proudly for all those with the condition – an estimated 90,000 people in New Zealand.

Purple Day was started by nine year old Cassidy Megan of Nova Scotia in 2008. Motivated by her own struggles with the condition, Cassidy wanted to tell everyone about epilepsy, she especially wanted to communicate that all seizures are not the same and that people with epilepsy are ordinary people, just like everyone else. Cassidy also wanted children with epilepsy to know that they are not alone. So she started talking about her epilepsy and created Purple Day, a day when she would wear purple and signal her epilepsy. Purple Day quickly caught on and is now celebrated in all continents around the world. This year, New Zealand is joining in for the first time.

Epilepsy New Zealand, the country’s only national service provider of epilepsy information and support, has jumped on board the concept – and has now built a nationwide campaign endorsed by the Bank of New Zealand.

Grace Shaw, Purple Day Marketing and Events Co-Coordinator for Epilepsy New Zealand, said: “We have put together a full campaign which has received tremendous support from all around the country, and is truly exciting. Our purple ribbons will be distributed throughout the entire country; we also have a ‘Lighting Up’ campaign with iconic landmarks turning purple for most of March, numerous ‘Hero’ events where people are holding morning teas, dinners, mufti days at schools, harrier runs, swap meets, retail shops dressing their windows purple, even a farmer dying his sheep purple for a day, with soluble dye of course. A special mention must also go to our Heroes in Scott Base, Antarctica who are dressing up in purple and baking special Purple Day cupcakes, which is all fantastic”.

“We thought we would start small this year, but once word got out in the community, we couldn’t hold people back – they just wanted to be involved, and help raise awareness in any way that they could for a cause that is very close to their hearts. Next year, we’re expecting Purple Day to grow, and be even bigger”.

The landmarks taking part in the Purple Day ‘Light Up’ are: The Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington, The Victoria Bridge Canopy in Whangarei, The New Plymouth Clock Tower, The Palmerston North Clock Tower, The Tom Parker Fountain in Napier, The Victoria Bridge Hamilton, The Hastings Clock Tower, The Darragh Building in Feilding, The Nelson Cathedral, The Gisborne Clock Tower, The Christchurch Airport Control Centre and St Andrews Historic Anglican Church in Cambridge.

Media Release 9 March 2012.