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Why these Burnaby landmarks are turning purple Tuesday night

International Purple Day brings awareness to epilepsy, which has no cure.
Burnaby's SkyTrain pillars next to Metrotown are lit up purple in raising awareness on epilepsy.

Epilepsy, to date, remains an incurable diagnosis for more than 50,000 B.C. residents, many of whom call Burnaby home.

International Purple Day is recognized each year on March 26, this Tuesday, including by the BC Epilepsy Society (BCES), as a means to stand in solidarity with those that live with recurring seizures.

The City of Burnaby is partnering with the non-profit to share its support for epileptic residents and is set to light up a pair of landmarks in the colour purple Tuesday night in bringing awareness to the disease:

  • Burnaby City Hall
  • SkyTrain pillars within the BC Parkway

The BCES explained one in 10 people impacted by the disease will experience at least one seizure in their lifetime, caused by excessive discharges of electrical impulses in the brain.

As well, the organization stated one in 100 people "will develop epilepsy at some point during their life."

"A seizure is a sudden, brief, and temporary disturbance of electrical activity in the brain," the BCES added. 

"There are over 40 different kinds of seizures which can alter consciousness, movement, sensation, speech, awareness, and behaviour."

Someone is having a seizure. What can I do?

The BC Epilepsy Society lists the following steps of how to respond and tend to someone experiencing a seizure:

  • Stay calm 
  • Protect the person from injury 
    • Cushion their head 
    • Move objects out of their way
    • Loosen anything tight around their neck
    • Remove their glasses (if any)
  • Gently turn the person onto their side as soon as possible
  • Stay with the person until consciousness is fully regained 
  • Be reassuring and comforting afterwards 
  • Never put anything in the person’s mouth
    • It could break their teeth or block their airway
    • A person cannot swallow their tongue during a seizure
  • Do not restrain or hold the person down
  • After the seizure, talk gently to comfort and reassure the person

The society adds an ambulance should be called if any of the following applies:

  • A seizure lasts for more than five minutes
  • There are repeated seizures
  • It's a first-time seizure (i.e., no known history)
  • If a person is injured, pregnant or has diabetes

For more information, you can visit the BC Epilepsy Society's website.