Partnership Painting Australia Purple - Epilepsy Queensland
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Partnership Painting Australia Purple

There’s a classic saying charity begins at home.

For Daniel Wessels from Jacaranda Finance, it’s a sentiment that helped cement his support for Make March Purple.

Dan  – whose mission in business is to support people in pursuing better lives  – grew up in Zimbabwe, where his fondest memories include picturesque streets lined with the same purple trees that are so synonymous with Brisbane.

They’re a beautiful link between his past and present, one that gave Jacaranda its instantly recognisable name and colour scheme. Now comes the chance to let purple reign on an even larger scale through Make March Purple, highlighting the fact an epilepsy diagnosis turns someone’s life upside down every 33 minutes in Australia.

It’s a scenario Dan knows only too well.

“My Uncle Glen had epilepsy and it hugely impacted not only his life, but also the lives of those around him,” Dan shares. “For me it was an early lesson in understanding and empathy and about knowing there’s no rhyme and reason to who is affected and how it plays out.”

Dan says the memories of his uncle’s struggles remain vivid to this day.

“It can be very confronting and daunting as a child to come across someone with epilepsy, particularly when they have seizures,” he says.

“For my uncle, they would last between 30-60 seconds, and they could happen anywhere and at any time, from when he was sitting at the table eating dinner to when he was relaxing in his bedroom.”

More worryingly, they could strike without warning, making Glen’s physical safety a matter of constant vigilance. Sadly, the condition ended up claiming his life at an early age. But from the sadness came a sharper lens of compassion and understanding.

“Knowing someone with epilepsy, and seeing how it impacts them, can be quite daunting to start with,” Dan says. “But over time you get used to the fact someone you love has these issues and your focus becomes on how you can best support them.”

Enter Epilepsy Queensland.

After developing a friendship with the organisation’s CEO, Chris Dougherty, Dan saw an opportunity to support and amplify their crucial work by signing Jacaranda up as the event’s first official sponsor.

“As a business, we’ve always had a vision that goes beyond the bottom line,” says Dan. “We’re committed to holistically supporting our community, which is something we put into practice across everything from our reputable and responsible lending practices to our focus on financial literacy.

“We see the same values reflected in the organisations that support people with epilepsy across Australia, who are also often dealing with people in times of incredible vulnerability.

“It’s a shared vision to not only see them through the difficult times, but to also partner them in pursuing and shaping a better life and better outcomes, through guidance, education and awareness.”

As part of their support, Jacaranda Finance is encouraging staff to use their annual day of benevolent leave to support Make March Purple fundraising initiatives.

Dan will also be Purple Mucked alongside Chris and rugby league legend Wally Lewis at the official launch of the campaign.

“Epilepsy support is something that’s important to me and my family, and it’s been heartening to see it be so eagerly embraced by the wider team at Jacaranda,” Dan says.

“We see Make March Purple as our chance to contribute to awareness, education and to encouraging more conversations around epilepsy.”

Epilepsy Queensland