Headway executive director Zuzanna Szkudlarek, Country Grocer floral manager Kris Ellis (Royal Oak) and Headway board member Deirdre Syms show off the Purple Pedal bouquets available at all seven of the Island’s Country Grocer locations from March 9 to 22 in support of epilepsy awareness. Travis Paterson/News Staff

Purple Bouquets bring awareness to epilepsy

Country Grocer to sell Purple Bouquets from March 9 to 22

Country Grocer is selling Purple Bouquets starting this Friday to promote the Purple Month and Purple Day, March 26.

Two dollars from every bouquet of purple flowers, which sell for $12.77, goes to the Headway Victoria Epilepsy and Parkinson’s Centre. It’s a major fundraiser for the small non-profit, said Zuzanna Szkudlarek, Headway executive director.

“This is a great way to bring awareness for what to do if someone has a seizure,” Szkudlarek said. “We are working to create awareness for the estimated 3,500 people living with epilepsy in the Capital Region. It’s not just something that affects one single person.”

Purple Day was started 10 years ago by then 9-year-old Cassidy Megan of Nova Scotia who felt it was important to get people talking about the disease. Purple Day has since grown to become an international event and in Canada it has evolved into Purple Month every March 26. The day 26 became a nationally recognized day when the federal government passed the Puprle Day Act in 2012.

Headway strives to dispel myths and break down the stigma of epilepsy. Myths and misconceptions include such misnomers as: epilepsy is contagious, only children get epilepsy, people with epilepsy can’t work, medication has largely solved the problem, and that people with epilepsy are physically limited in what they can do.

“People are afraid to ask questions about what they should do in the case someone has an epileptic seizure,” said Deirdre Syms, a member of the Headway Victoria board of directors who also lives with epilepsy. “Seizure experiences are different for each person, you might be awake, you might be unconscious, they might be small [people don’t always know what to do].”

The purple flowers are available at all seven Country Grocer locations from 10 a.m. Friday until March 22.

Here are some tips in the event you come across someone having a seizure.

A seizure is a brief and uncontrolled surge of electrical activity in the brain.

To assist someone who is having a seizure: Stay calm. Time the seizure. Protect the person from injury: clear the area. Loosen any tight clothing from around the neck, such as a tie, and remove glasses. Put something soft under the head.

After convulsions are over, turn the person on their side. Watch for cyanosis (blue lips). Make sure breathing resumes. Always stay with the person until they are fully recovered. Allow them to recover in a quiet, darkened room, if possible.

reporter@saanichnews.com

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