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Awareness Days, Months, and Colours
While you may find yourself flooded with messages about various periods of awareness, these do represent good opportunities to bring attention to an issue. Although times and colours may vary by region, here are some notable dates, months, and colours of awareness with a Canadian focus. If we are missing any, please get in touch with our Editor Spencer van Vloten.
Also see these tips on how you can most effectively raise awareness and turn it into action!
Dates of awareness
2nd Monday in February International Epilepsy Day
2nd Sunday in February Autism Sunday
Last day in February Rare Disease Day
March 20th World Head Injury Day
March 21st World Down Syndrome Day
March 26th International Purple Day for Epilepsy Awareness
April 2nd World Autism Awareness Day
April 11th World Parkinson's Day
3rd Thursday of May Global Accessibility Awareness Day
May 12th International Fibromyalgia Day
May 14th Apraxia Awareness Day
May 26th-June 1st Canadian AccessAbility Week
May 30th World Multiple Sclerosis Day
June 13th World Albinism Day
June 21st World ALS Day
September 5th Spinal Cord Injury Day
September 7th World Duchenne Awareness Day
September 8th World Cystic Fibrosis Day
September 9th International Cerebral Palsy Day
September 9th International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Day
September 19th Aortic Disease Awareness Day
September 21st World Alzheimer's Day
September 23rd International Day of Sign Languages
September 25th International Ataxia Awareness Day
Last week of September International Week of the Deaf
October National Disability Employment Month
October 6th World Cerebral Palsy Day
2nd Thursday of October World Sight Day
October 12th World Mental Health Day
October 12th World Arthritis Day
October 25th World Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Day
November Indigenous Disability Awareness Month
November 1st-7th Canadian Down Syndrome Week
December 3rd International Day of Disabled Persons
Colours and months of awareness
Months June and August
June is ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) Awareness Month, while ALS Canada's August campaign, “Every August Until a Cure” sees massive increases in awareness and fundraising as Canadians across the country participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The official colour for ALS Canada is purple.
Colour Purple and Blue
Months January and September
September is World Alzheimer’s Month, with September 21st being World Alzheimer’s Day. In Canada, we also recognize January as Alzheimer Awareness Month, which focuses particularly on caregivers and countering stigma against people living with dementia. As for colour, in Canada, blue is the primary colour of the Alzheimer Society, but purple had been widely adopted in Alzheimer movements.
Months May and October
There may not be a month specifically recognizing anxiety, but in Canada there is a Mental Health Week early in May, and Mental Illness Awareness Week early in October. In the US, the entire month of May is dedicated to mental health, and one of the weeks is focused on depression and anxiety. For colours, Teal has been designated to represent anxiety disorders.
Colour Blue (especially light blue)
May is usually Apraxia Awareness Month, with May 14 being the day most cities and areas issue their proclamations recognizing Apraxia Awareness Day. Generally, the color is blue of any sort, usually a light blue.
Months May and September
In Canada, Arthritis Awareness Month is September, while it has been during May in the United States.
Colours Blue, Gold, and Rainbow
April is Autism awareness month. There are a few different colours used to represent autism. Advocacy groups with different perspectives have chosen different colours. Here is a blog post about the different colours and symbols used to represent autism. Blue is the traditional autism awareness colour, but many autistic advocates now prefer gold or rainbow.
October is the month of recognition and awareness for cerebral palsy, with Oct. 6th being World CP Day. The colour of awareness is green.
Colours Yellow and Blue
Months March, October, November
March 21st is World Down Syndrome Day. This day was picked to resemble the 21st chromosome dividing into 3 parts causing Down syndrome, instead of the two that most individuals have. Nov 1 to the 7th is National Down Syndrome Awareness Week. It is aimed at celebrating the great efforts of Canadians in our incredible community. The USA celebrates in October.
Down syndrome colors are yellow and blue. Yellow is the colour of sunshine, hope, and happiness, while blue represents both the sky and the sea, and is associated with open spaces, freedom,intuition, and trust.
The colour that is associated with epilepsy awareness is purple, as reflected in International Purple Day for Epilepsy Awareness, which is held on March 26th of every year. The BC Epilepsy Society also celebrate their "March is Purple Month!" campaign each March.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
International FASD Day is September 9, and September is being promoted as FASD month. Although there is no broadly agreed upon colour of awareness, a white looped and knotted cord (pictured below) has been used as a symbol. The FASD cord symbolizes a loving community that works together to help eliminate FASD.
Colours Blue and Green
Blue is the most commonly used as an awareness colour globally, but Canada's Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association uses green to recognize both conditions, with September being the month of awareness for Hydrocephalus. You can learn more about it on the Hydrocephalus Association's Hydrocephalus Awareness Month page.
Colour Green and Red
Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Month is September in Canada, and the color most frequently associated with muscular dystrophy are green and red (a colour commonly used by Muscular Dystrophy Canada).
Colours Blue and Purple
April is Parkinson's Awareness Month, and Parkinson Society BC uses blue and purple for promotion during April--two colours which have been used together by other organizations as well.
Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) is a genetic condition that results in developmental delay. If you are interested in doing a fundraiser, recognition piece, or any other act of awareness for PWS, I recommend getting in touch with the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research Canada to see if they can lend their support.
Colours Green, Teal, and Yellow
Month June and October
June has been used as Spina Bifida Awareness Month in Canada, with green being the colour of awareness. In the US, October is awareness month and yellow is commonly used as a colour of awareness, while teal is the color that the Spina Bifida Association uses throughout the year.
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