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Zehrs Purple Day raises awareness around epilepsy

This initiative promotes epilepsy awareness
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Epilepsy Simcoe County (ESC) is excited to announce that Zehrs Purple Day is coming to six stores across Simcoe County.

Starting on Sunday, March 1, Zehrs stores across the province will take part in the initiative by selling purple shirts and accepting cash donations at the register. There will also be seizure first aid cards given out and an opportunity to be entered into a draw to win a $50 coffee card, courtesy of ESC.  

Nancy Evans, leader of the #ZehrsPurpleDay for Epilepsy Awareness, says that she’s been looking after this fundraising initiative, which started in Guelph, Ont., for the past eight years. 

“It started with a colleague whose daughter had epilepsy, and we wanted to raise funds and awareness. That same year, our store manager's daughter was diagnosed as well. What started with just our one store has grown first to our city, then to all 42 Zehrs stores, and this year, four PEI Atlantic Superstores have joined. We hope to beat last year's results of $85,000," said Evans. 

She goes on to say that everyone is very excited about this year's T-shirt design.

"’Their fight is our fight; no one fights alone’ was designed by my daughter who volunteered her time and talent to design all of our shirts. We’ve now made close to 50,000 purple Ts over the years, and they’re becoming collector items.”

The initiative takes place throughout March in recognition of Purple Day, which takes place annually on March 26, and was founded by a young girl in Nova Scotia. After being diagnosed with epilepsy when she was seven, Cassidy Megan realized that many of her classmates knew very little about her disease, and so when she set out to change that realization. 

Purple Day was born.  

Epilepsy Simcoe County’s executive director, Shawna Bailey, says that the efforts to create more knowledge surrounding the disease are ongoing. 

“Every year that we’ve been here we’ve made great strides in creating more awareness about epilepsy and what it means not only for the individual or their family, but for the community as a whole. Since seizures can occur anywhere, we want everyone — from friends to coworkers — to understand the basics of seizure first aid and what epilepsy actually is so that we can reduce the stigma associated with it.” 

She goes on to say that the importance of having a local agency where individuals can get accurate and tailored information is essential.  

Zehrs Purple Day T-shirts will be sold for $10, and 100 per cent of donations and sales from stores in Alliston, Bradford, Orillia, and Barrie will go back to Epilepsy Simcoe County.

Money raised will continue to help individuals — and their families — living with epilepsy get the support that they need through educational programs, information sessions, and support groups. 

To get a sneak-peek of the shirts, and to order free seizure first-aid cards (which will enter individuals into a draw to win the $50 coffee card), area residents are invited to click here. Anyone is Simcoe County who doesn’t have a local Zehrs store - or who cannot get to one but still want to support the cause -  can order shirts online and have them shipped to their home by visiting

Epilepsy Simcoe County (ESC) was established in 1978 as a volunteer organization to assist the people of Simcoe County with education, support, awareness and advocacy. They are located in downtown Barrie and serve their member base in the Greater Simcoe County area. ESC provides people living with epilepsy education, understanding and support to get help they may need in a caring and understanding environment.

Epilepsy is a common disorder with over 300,000 Canadians affected and over 50 million people world wide. It is estimated 1 in 100 people in Simcoe County live with this disease.