Purple is a colour that almost everyone has some affinity to. For some Canadian kids, purple is the colour of hope. In 2008, a nine year old Canadian girl, Cassidy Megan, from Nova Scotia who has epilepsy held the first Purple Day ever with the help of the Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia. Since then, it has grown into a national day of awareness to Epilepsy – a disease that affects approximately 1 in 100 people.
For local Grade 8 student Nick Nasz, Purple Day has a special meaning. Nasz has been battling with his own epilepsy issues. “He started having seizures when he was two,” said his mom Teri. Nick now has a vagus nerve stimulator implanted in his body. A surgeon makes two small incisions – one in the neck to gain access to the vagus nerve and one below the collarbone in the chest wall or armpit.
“The surgeon places the VNS pulse generator into a surgically-made “pocket” under the skin of the patient’s chest and threads a plastic tube containing the electrodes from the neck to the generator in the chest. He or she then gently wraps the flexible ends of silicone-coated electrodes around the vagus nerve,” explains the Epilepsy foundation on their website www.epilepsy foundation.org. He had the procedure done just over 4 years ago.
Nick’s seizures stopped at age 13. “Nick was having seizure activities at a rate of 400 every 20 minutes when he was tested a year ago, said Teri. “By May, Nick will have been seizure free for six months.”
The Nasz family is hoping that Nick is on the right path and that his epilepsy might eventually become a thing of the past, but for now it is baby steps. “Nick takes eight pills in the morning, two after school and eight in the evening,” stated his mom. “I hope that we can cut back on these and he will remain seizure free. It is all a guessing game right now.”
For Nick, Purple Day was an easy way for him to get involved. “When an educator came to Princeton earlier this year to talk about epilepsy, she told me about their fundraising campaign and we decided to do it,” Teri stated. “Nick has been selling Purple Day pins and bracelets around town for the past couple of weeks, and last Friday with the help of his sister sold cupcakes at the high school.
On Purple Day, which is March 26, Nick will be in front of Overwaitea from 11a.m. to 3 p.m. selling cupcakes and his pins and buttons, as well as, raising awareness about his disease. “Everybody should wear purple that day,” said Nick. For more information on purple day go to www.purpleday.org It is a cause worthy of a day.