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Month 6. March 2011. Purple Day & Epilepsy Awareness.

 

Cheering for a Cause: Purple Day for Epilepsy
by Julie Bolton, founder of Cheer for a Cause

Thanks to Junior Advisory Board member, Sarah Barber from New Brunswick, Canada, for suggesting we support Purple Day for epilepsy as our March cause. Purple Day was founded by 9-year old cheerleader Cassidy Megan three years ago and is celebrated around the world every year on March 26! Cassidy, a Canadian Cheerlebrity, cheers for Nova Scotia's West Halifax Cheer and Sarah for East Coast Spirit.

Some people living with epilepsy find it hard to talk about. It can be difficult; sometimes people make fun of others with epilepsy. It’s because of lack of understanding. That’s why Cassidy founded Purple Day. She felt scared and alone. Purple Day is about dispelling myths. Many of us thought we were supposed to hold down a person with epilepsy when they experience a seizure and be concerned they might swallow their tongue. People can’t swallow their tongues. It’s not contagious.

I was overwhelmed by the enthusiastic support of our Cheer and Dance World! We learned that 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy – one in every 100. And that epilepsy is more common than cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease – combined. I learned many cheer and dance athletes have epilepsy, and I’d like to introduce you to a few of them. Prepare to be inspired!

David Ranck is a part of cheer history. I met David in warm-ups at UCA Allstar nationals. I’m thinking now, everything happens for a reason… I was inspired and honored that David chose Cheer for a Cause to share his story. David has seizures. He was friendly and easy to chat with. He grew up in Pennsylvania and attended Colorado State and Morehead State University. While in Colorado, David cheered for the Denver Nuggets. At Morehead, he helped his cheer team win UCA College Nationals three years in a row – 2008, 2009 and 2010.

He’s on the UCA staff. David was a member of the ensemble in the original production of “Bring It On THE MUSICAL” this winter in Atlanta. Their website bills him as one of the most notable cast members. The plot is about understanding and embracing our differences and coming together to celebrate our unique strengths. And if this isn’t enough to make you go “wow” – David recently participated in the Worrior Race, a grueling 3+ mile obstacle course where only the beastly and best compete. He’s an amazing athlete, a young man with a college degree and a bright future.

David’s coaches and teammates have been great friends! They each took the time to understand what to expect if he has a seizure and most importantly, what to do to keep him safe.

David is an athlete we can all look up to - especially those of us who may silently or not-so-silently be living with epilepsy or seizures. David can be your hero, and ours.

At the All American Nationals in Orlando, many athletes and parents who stopped by our booth either had someone with epilepsy in their family or knew someone with epilepsy. Many teams took the time to speak out on camera. Madison is a cheerleader and flyer with the Orlando Allstars. While surrounded by her team, this amazing little girl looked right into my camera and said, “Epilepsy does not have to define you. You can do whatever you want with it!” You can view these inspiring videos, including a very special one from Cassidy Megan, on our YouTube Channel

Camille is a remarkable 12-year old. Her mom and I met on the Cheer Moms facebook page. Camille cheers with Canada’s Vancouver Allstars. Hearing we were supporting Purple Day, she made a video all on her own! Camille says, “Cheerleading has changed my life, literally. It helps me forget I have epilepsy.” Epilepsy certainly doesn’t keep her from cheerleading or from inspiring others! Camille’s video is a favorite on our YouTube Channel – a must watch!

Cheerleading and dance is all about passion and spirit. We put a lot of hard work into what we do, and it’s not easy. Cassidy Megan opened her heart, even though she was sad and alone, and inspired us all! I keep saying, “Our lives change as we change the lives of others.” And it’s quite true. My life is forever changed because of our Purple Day for epilepsy cause. I understand more about epilepsy and seizures. My eyes are open to the fact that many more people than I thought live with epilepsy. Mostly though, my heart was warmed at the unique and extraordinary differences we share and the way our cheer and dance community embraces them. Please join us in April and May as we support Special Needs Teams! Our theme is “Every day is special when you surround yourself with special people.”

For more information on Purple Day, epilepsy and first aid for seizures, visit www.epilepsyns.com, www.purpleday.org and www.akfus.org.

Photos & Videos: 1. Video at top, from Varsity TV, David Ranck & Morehead State University, Division 1 UCA National Championship Routine 2010; 2. Cassidy Megan, founder of Purple Day; 3. David Ranck's Division 1 UCA National Championship Rings (2008, 2009, 2010), photo by Julie Bolton; 4. David Ranck and sister Anna Ranck at 2010 Worrior Dash; 5. David Ranck and UCA Staff; 6. Video in center, Madison and the Orlando Allstar Giants; 7. Cassidy Megan in her West Halifax Cheer uniform.


Join the Cheer & Dance World on March 26 and Wear Purple for Epilepsy.

Meet Cassidy Megan, a 12-year-old allstar cheerleader from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. She cheers for West Halifax Cheer.

Cassidy, who lives with epilepsy, created Purple Day for Epilepsy (Purple Day) held every year on March 26 to increase awareness and dispel myths about one of the most common neurological disorders.

WEAR PURPLE ON MARCH 26! CLICK THIS LINK TO BECOME AN AMBASSADOR, LEARN MORE & JOIN THE FACEBOOK EVENT!

“Purple Day helps people understand that not all seizures are the same, and that people with epilepsy are ordinary people just like everybody else,” said Cassidy Megan, the founder of Purple Day. “Purple Day also reminds people living with epilepsy that they aren’t alone. That’s why we wear purple, the international colour for epilepsy.”

Epilepsy affects three million Americans, 300,000 people in Canada and over 50 million people worldwide, which is more than multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s disease combined. Despite its prevalence, epilepsy is not well understood and people with epilepsy continue to face social stigma and discrimination.

More about Purple Day and epilepsy resources at these links:
Purple Day
Anita Kaufmann Foundation
Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia

Do you know what to do when someone has a seizure? (Hint: You don't hold a person down and you don't put anything in their mouth.) What we thought was correct, isn't. PLEASE visit this link to learn what you should - and most importantly - what you should not do when someone has a seizure.


CANADIAN CHEERLEADER KICKS OFF EPILEPSY AWARENSS MONTH WITH THREE CHEERS FOR PURPLE!

Halifax, NS – January 19, 2011 – Cassidy Megan, a 12-year-old cheerleader from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada is putting her pom poms to good use to go purple and inspire supporters around the world to do the same. Cassidy, who lives with epilepsy, created Purple Day for Epilepsy (Purple Day) held every year on March 26 to increase awareness and dispel myths about one of the most common neurological disorders.

“Purple Day helps people understand that not all seizures are the same, and that people with epilepsy are ordinary people just like everybody else,” said Cassidy Megan, the founder of Purple Day. “Purple Day also reminds people living with epilepsy that they aren’t alone. That’s why we wear purple, the international colour for epilepsy.”

Epilepsy affects 300,000 people in Canada, three million Americans and over 50 million people worldwide, which is more than multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s disease combined. Despite its prevalence, epilepsy isn’t well-understood and people with epilepsy continue to face social stigma and discrimination.

“When people know more about different kinds of seizures, and how to help someone having a seizure, they immediately become more receptive to seeing the person with epilepsy as an ordinary individual,” said Deirdre Floyd, president of the Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia, who helped Cassidy bring Purple Day to life. “Purple Day reminds others that people living with epilepsy need understanding and acceptance, and deserve comprehensive care and access to innovative treatment options to effectively manage their disorder.”

Purple Day increases awareness, reduces stigma and empowers individuals living with epilepsy to take action in their communities. People around the world are encouraged to learn more about epilepsy and Purple Day so they can join in the celebrations on March 26. There are hundreds of people world-wide that will be participating in the 2011 Purple Day activities supporting epilepsy by wearing purple or by getting involved in a Purple Day awareness or fundraising event.


About Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a group of disorders of the central nervous system, specifically the brain. Epilepsy is characterized by recurrent unprovoked seizures and can occur at any age. A seizure occurs when the normal electrical balance in the brain is lost. The brain's nerve cells misfire, either firing when they shouldn't or not firing when they should. The type of seizure depends on how many cells fire and which area of the brain is involved. A person that has a seizure may experience an alteration in behaviour, consciousness, movement, perception and/or sensation. Epilepsy is not contagious, and is rarely fatal.

About Purple Day
Purple Day for Epilepsy (Purple Day) is held each year on March 26 and is dedicated to raising awareness about epilepsy by reducing stigma and empowering individuals living with epilepsy to take action in their communities. It was founded in 2008 by nine-year-old Cassidy Megan of Nova Scotia, and named after the internationally recognized colour for epilepsy, lavender. Purple Day was launched internationally in 2009. The Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia, (member agency of the Canadian Epilepsy Alliance) and the Anita Kaufmann Foundation in the United States are the global partners for the Purple Day campaign. For more information, please visit www.purpleday.org.


Logos, photos and information reproduced by permission of the Global Purple Day Planning Committee (Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia & Anita Kaufmann Foundation).