Wear mauve for Lavender Day!

Purple Day


Understanding epilepsy

Epilepsy is a little-known disorder affecting nearly 1 in 100 Canadians. One way to support people with the condition is, quite simply, to learn more about it and help break down the stigma.


What is Lavender Day?

March 26 is recognized by over 80 countries around the world as World Epilepsy Awareness Day, now known as Lavender Day. Lavender Day was launched in 2008 thanks to the initiative of Canadian Cassidy Megan. Diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 7, this young Nova Scotian has since made a name for herself by partnering with various organizations to turn her idea of Lavender Day into a worldwide movement. Over 80 countries now participate in the movement, with hundreds of events taking place every year.


Why choose lavender?

Well, the flower is traditionally associated with loneliness and isolation, feelings that Canadian Cassidy Megan, creator of the day, experienced when she was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 7.


The initiative invites those affected to come together and have meaningful conversations about the condition. It also allows us all to support those who suffer from epilepsy, and to show our support by uniting around one color: purple.


What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that disrupts the electrical activity of the brain, leading to recurrent seizures. This brain dysfunction occurs when a person's consciousness, movements or actions can be altered uncontrollably for a short period of time. The duration and type of seizure vary according to the area of the brain affected and its extent.


There are many different types of epileptic seizures. However, they can be grouped into 2 main categories.


Generalized seizures

Extend to both hemispheres of the brain

Often associated with loss of consciousness


The most frequent types include

absences: brief periods of non-receptivity (staring into space) that often go unnoticed or are perceived as being in the moonlight,

tonic-clonic seizures: the tonic phase causes loss of consciousness, muscular contraction and difficulty in breathing. Its clonic phase causes convulsions that can result in tongue biting, excess saliva and loss of urine and stools.

atonic seizures: sudden loss of muscle tone, leading to a fall and possible loss of consciousness.

myoclonic seizures: sudden jerks and contractions of the muscles that can cause a fall, but generally do not involve loss of consciousness.


Partial seizures

Also known as "focal seizures".

Trigger in a specific part of the brain, so the course of the seizure will depend on its location.


They can be

simple: no loss of consciousness. Unusual sensations (e.g. blurred vision, tingling, déjà vu, etc.). May be a precursor to a more serious seizure.

or complex : Affects state of consciousness. Frequent symptoms: blank stare and repeated automatic gestures (e.g. pulling on clothes). Inability or difficulty speaking.


Some common symptoms


Symptoms of epileptic seizures can vary greatly from person to person, sometimes even from seizure to seizure. Symptoms may include

disorientation ;

loss of consciousness

weakness ;

muscle contractions;

various disorders :

movements ;

sensations ;

mood ;

cognitive functions ;

convulsions *


*The following intervention protocol is an excellent tool for knowing what to do in the event of a seizure: https://academiesb.com/ressources-gratuites


People with epilepsy are also more likely to have secondary physical problems: fractures, haematomas and multiple injuries.


Having epilepsy isn't just about having seizures. Unfortunately, it can also lead to other problems, such as psychosocial disorders, anxiety, stress and depression.


Epilepsy can also lead to behavioral disorders, especially in children. These disorders can develop as a result of :


Fear, stress or embarrassment related to having epilepsy.

Frustration linked to learning and language difficulties.

An abnormality in one of the brain regions that control and help control emotions and behavior.

Abnormal brainwave activity (epilepsy) that disrupts normal brain function.

Anti-epileptic drug therapy, which alters the balance of chemicals (neurotransmitters) within the brain, helping to regulate behavior.


The chances of children with epilepsy having behavioral problems vary greatly from one youngster to the next, depending on the type of epilepsy and its location in the brain, the frequency and intensity of seizures, the type of medication and the reaction of those around them to seizures. (The Hospital for Sick Children, 2010)



Epilepsy affects 1 in 100 Canadians


Half the causes of epilepsy are still unknown


More than 50 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with epilepsy - making it the most common serious neurological disorder worldwide.


It is estimated that 70% of people living with epilepsy could live symptom-free lives if resources enabled better diagnosis and treatment


Still too many prejudices

According to neuropsychologist Sarah Lippé, PhD, people with epilepsy are still subject to social judgments. As a result of these prejudices, people with epilepsy are at greater risk of encountering the following problems:

isolation and rejection

psychological distress ;

difficulties at school and at work;

discrimination ;

job loss, unemployment and poverty.



Source: Canadian Epilepsy Alliance


Did you know that...

The popular belief that it's dangerous to swallow your tongue during an epileptic seizure is a myth!


In fact, it's physically impossible to swallow your tongue, although a bite is possible. However, you should never put an object such as a spoon in the victim's mouth to prevent this type of injury. The risk is of breaking teeth, injuring gums and cheeks, fracturing the jaw or choking on the object.


Let's take advantage of Lavender Day to dispel these prejudices!


Visit the following link to find out more about epilepsy and how to mark Lavender Day: https://www.canadianepilepsyalliance.org/5619/



Canadian Epilepsy Alliance. N.d. "About epilepsy. URL: https://www.canadianepilepsyalliance.org/a-propos-de-lepilepsie/?lang=fr [Last accessed March 16, 2022]

CHU Sainte-Justine. 2017. "Let's talk about epilepsy". URL: https://www.chusj.org/fr/soins-services/E/Epilepsie/Parlons-d-epilepsie [Last accessed March 16, 2022]

Epilepsy Section Quebec. S.d. "What is epilepsy?". URL: https://www.epilepsiequebec.com [Last consulted on March 16, 2022]

Gilmour, H., Ramage-Morin, P. and Wong L., S. 2016. "Epilepsy in Canada: prevalence and consequences". Statistics Canada. URL: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/82-003-x/2016009/article/14654-fra.htm [Last accessed March 16, 2022]

Lippé, Sarah. S.d. "Epilepsy". Association québécoise des neuropsychologues. URL: https://aqnp.ca/documentation/neurologique/lepilepsie/ [Last accessed March 16, 2022]

World Health Organization. 2022. "Key benchmarks: Epilepsy". URL:https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/epilepsy [Last accessed March 16, 2022]

SickKids staff. 2010. "Epilepsy and behavior". About Kids Health. URL: https://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/fr/Article?contentid=2113&language=French [Last accessed March 16, 2022]

Purple Day. S.d. "Purple Beginnings". URL :https://www.purpleday.org [Last consulted on March 16, 2022]


Arnaud Korth

Administrative agent