Hansard of the
Purple Day -
Epilepsy Awareness Month
Mr President, I thank my colleagues for wearing purple today in
recognition of Purple Day. I know the member for Hobart is
wearing purple underpants.
- His purple is not as obvious as the member for Elwick's. She
has worn a purple suit, so she gets first prize.
epilepsy remains a concerning problem in our community, Tasmania is
taking the lead in dealing with it through our specialist charity,
Epilepsy Tasmania. I am pleased and proud to be patron of
Epilepsy Tasmania. Today is a big one for us because it is
Purple Day, it is this day of the month and also it is Epilepsy
Month. The day will be marked on the lawns outside this
building just after 1 o'clock today when those attending will be
wearing our purple ribbons.
Awareness Day was the idea eight years ago of a young Canadian girl,
Cassidy Megan, who had struggled with epilepsy at school and in her
community. Cassidy wanted to address the stigma that was still
attached to epilepsy, and which she felt very much. She wanted
to help people to better understand it through Purple Day events.
Purple Day is been marked around the world as we speak. I
believe there is a Purple Day cupcake challenge in Texas and purple
walks, purple events and bike rides in the UK as well, and other
events in Australia.
Tasmania exists to improve the quality of life for those affected by
epilepsy through education and training. It provides support
services for those affected and helps educate the broader community
about the condition. It is also engaged in a very
internationally important study into a vital aspect of epilepsy, and
members might recall that I spoke about this a short time ago.
It is the Tasmanian Infantile Epilepsy Encephalopathy - IEE -
Project. Funding for the project was announced in September
last year. The project aims to discover the underlying genetic
causes of this severe condition. IEE significantly contributes
to the burden and costs to families and health services because there
is frequent hospitalisation needed for the uncontrolled seizures.
underlying causes of IEE early in life is highly important.
Making a genetic diagnosis has positive outcomes for identifying the
most appropriate therapies and for the quality of life prognosis.
Tasmania's IEE Project will not only be valuable for healthcare
development here but will also provide interesting data for the world
community. It is important to mention Kathleen
who made a bequest of $267 000 for this study to take place, and
we thank her very much.
event to mark Epilepsy Month was held last week with the formal
opening of Epilepsy Tasmania's new headquarters in Launceston.
It is handily located in Launceston's Brisbane Street. It was
formally opened last Friday by our Health minister, Michael
Ferguson. About 5 200 Tasmanians have some form of
epilepsy. It can affect anyone from early childhood to old
age. Every GP has about 10 patients with epilepsy.
is important to understand that epilepsy is not a mental health
disorder. It is not a disability. It is a health
condition. Most forms of epilepsy do not result in seizures and
there are 30 known different types of epilepsy. Early diagnosis
of epilepsy means that it can be treated with inexpensive and
effective medicines, and 70 per cent of people with epilepsy can
lead normal lives. It is not a condition which those who have
it should need to hide and the rest of the community needs to
understand more about it. That is the success of Cassidy
Megan's Purple Day concept in Epilepsy Awareness Month, which is
at 1 o'clock we will be out on the lawns at the front of Parliament
House. The Health minister, Michael Ferguson, is going to
acknowledge the work of Epilepsy Tasmania. You are invited to
attend. He will only be speaking at five past one and then we
are off to Daci & Daci for a coffee and some fellowship.