Purple Day® is the largest international grassroots effort dedicated to increasing awareness about epilepsy. On March 26th annually, people in countries around the world are invited to wear purple and host events in support of epilepsy awareness. Further intentions of this movement are to reduce social stigmas commonly endured by many individuals with epilepsy, to provide assurance and advocacy, and encourage individuals living with the condition to take action in their communities to achieve these aims.
In 2008 Purple Day® was initiated by then nine-year-old Cassidy Megan from Nova Scotia who was motivated by her own struggle with epilepsy. Nobody would invite her for a sleepover because they were afraid of her seizures. She felt very isolated and wanted there to be ONE DAY when everyone with epilepsy would not feel alone. She called it Purple Day ®, as purple is the international color of epilepsy.
The Anita Kaufmann Foundation (AKF) and The Epilepsy Association of the Maritimes are the global sponsors of Purple Day®. Purple Day® is celebrated in over 85 countries. Buildings, bridges and monuments worldwide are lit up in purple to celebrate epilepsy awareness. Government officials worldwide have issued proclamations about Purple Day®, honoring people with epilepsy. AKF has sponsored The Great Purple Cupcake Project where bakeries and individuals around the globe bake and sell purple cupcakes for epilepsy awareness. Another exciting awareness project is "Lace Up For Epilepsy". AKF provides purple laces free of charge so people can show their purple pride. They can wear their purple laces during the multitude of epilepsy walks. (Request laces on www.purpledayeveryday.org)
In 2013, AKF created an initiative called PURPLE DAY® EVERY DAY to help make epilepsy awareness and purple important every day of the year. AKF sponsors epilepsy awareness initiatives and events year- round around the globe. They have held Purple Day® events at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Mall of America in Minneapolis, Space Center Houston with NASA, The Freedom Tower in New York City to mention a few.
AKF was established in 2003 with a bequest from Anita Kaufmann, whose greatest desire was to educate the public about epilepsy and help eliminate the fear and stigma associated with epilepsy and brain trauma. Anita Kaufmann was an accomplished lawyer and businessperson who suffered from a traumatic brain injury and then developed post traumatic epilepsy. She started having her first seizures in her early twenties. She experienced her seizures while at a world-renowned spa and was thrown out. From that moment on, she decided to dedicate her estate to The Anita Kaufmann Foundation to help others avoid the discrimination she faced.
Anita felt that education was key in reducing fear. AKF publishes a unique collection of epilepsy information and seizure first aid materials that have been approved by their medical advisors. They are free of charge and can be ordered on their web site - www.purpledayeveryday.org. AKF has a Veterans' program called "Heads Up For Vets". Many of our brave servicemen and women are returning home from active duty with a new war to wage: a battle to control seizures and epilepsy. AKF has collaborated with the VA and their Epilepsy Centers of Excellence to establish a program that is specifically designed to support our Veterans and their families in their own hometowns and provide linkage to local community resources as well as those offered by the VA.
Purple Day® is a federally registered trademarked owned by The Anita Kaufmann Foundation.