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Dec. 6, 2021 | Monday
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Black Tie Purple Ribbon Gala returns in support of epilepsy research
The Gala event in January of 2020. (File)

Sharon Van Noort
Special to Niagara Now/The Lake Report

The second annual Black Tie Purple Ribbon Gala is returning to Niagara-on-the-Lake on Jan. 22.

Building on the inaugural event’s overwhelming success, the black-tie affair, presented by InterAtlas, will once again raise money and awareness for epilepsy research.

In addition to the gala, a silent auction will be held at Ferox Winery on Nov. 17 at 4 p.m., which will include wine tastings, food and music.

Epilepsy hits close to home for my family. Our son Eric Van Noort has suffered from epilepsy and debilitating seizures.

Money raised this year will support the Toronto Western Hospital epilepsy monitoring unit — a 10-bed unit where patients stay for long-term monitoring of their behaviours and brainwave activity during seizures. Such investigations take place to help plan for potentially life-changing epilepsy surgery.

While most treatment for epilepsy is long-term drug therapy, the cocktail of medication did not bring Eric’s seizures under control.

He underwent diagnostic brain surgery, which required 14 electrodes to be surgically implanted into his brain. Eric spent 30 days in the epilepsy monitoring unit in the hopes that he might be a candidate for surgery to hopefully end his seizures.

After months of analysis, Eric successfully received what he calls “life-changing brain surgery” to treat his seizures. I’m not sure where we would be without all the support from Toronto Western's epilepsy monitoring unit.

Epilepsy affects about one in 100 people in Canada, with an unexpected sudden death occurring in about one in 1,000. New advancements occur every year in software that improve physicians' abilities to analyze the data that they capture.

With the support of Carson Tucker and a team of community members, funds raised will support the purchase of new software upgrades that will improve doctors' ability to detect seizures in the monitoring unit in real time.

This will help the lives of Ontarians with epilepsy by improving the outcomes of patients coming through the unit, potentially reducing patients' length of stay and helping to serve more patients each year in the process.

The Jan. 22 Black Tie Purple Ribbon Gala will be at the Court House Theatre in Old Town and is expected to sell out again.

The night will feature live music by X-Prime and an open bar generously supplied by Big Head Winery, Niagara Cider Company and the Collingwood Brewery.

To learn more, purchase tickets, or sponsor the event, visit