LHSC celebrates Purple Day for Epilepsy

March 24, 2017

While Epilepsy Awareness Day is officially on Sunday, March 26, LHSC is getting into the spirit early by wearing purple today!

In recognition of this important awareness event, staff, patients and supporters of LHSC’s Epilepsy Program deck themselves out in their finest purple attire, from head to toe. To make the occasion even sweeter, the program is holding their annual bake sale today with proceeds going to the Epilepsy Unit.  

The Epilepsy Program at London Health Sciences Centre is widely recognized for its highly qualified team of professionals consisting of neurologists, neurosurgeons, nurses, psychologists, EEG technologists neuropathologists, neuroradiologists and neurophysiologists dedicated to the management of epilepsy, particularly epilepsy surgery.

Its centerpiece is the 10-bed, inpatient Epilepsy Monitoring Unit at University Hospital, which is one of the largest in Canada. Devoted primarily to investigation of patients for possible epilepsy surgery, the Epilepsy Unit is also used to aid diagnosis of epilepsy and other related conditions, and to evaluate patients for other types of treatment, including trials of antiepileptic medications.

One former patient, Michele Hares, is hoping to add a little extra comfort to those staying on the inpatient unit and has generously donated purple gift bags containing a number of self-care goodies that are provided to epilepsy inpatients. The gift bags are tailored by gender, but also contain common products that she found helpful during her stay and recovery such as unique organic tea and coffees. Additionally, a special contact card for anyone that wants to reach out and talk with someone that has shared a similar experience is included.

The first round of gift bags were delivered by Michele Hares and Dave Hamilton at the end of January, and to date the patient response has been extremely positive. The staff on the unit have noted that patients have been very touched by her generosity and really enjoy the gift bags.

“It’s my goal to put together enough bags so that every patient receiving care on the unit this year will get one,” says Michele Hares. “I want to bring a little light to others who are going through a similar journey to mine, as well as continue to raise awareness for epilepsy because I didn’t know enough about it and the stigmas attached to it before my experience. I never want anyone to feel isolated or embarrassed because they have epilepsy and more public education around it will help that.”

The purple gift bags are possible through a combination of donations from various companies and product purchases made possible by the proceeds of the epilepsy awareness t-shirts Michele sells. As the number of gift bags stored on-site begins to decline, she and Dave work together to replenish their stock and deliver another set.

Epilepsy Awareness Month continues through the remainder of March, so it’s not too late to show your support by wearing purple and taking a moment to learn more about epilepsy and its effects at http://epilepsysupport.ca/