Sailor Profile: Petty Officer First Class Charles Bressette

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March 26 will be a Purple Day at CFB Halifax thanks to this dedicated sailor. Petty Officer First Class (PO1) Charles Bressette has a busy work life at CFB Halifax. Currently employed as a Weapons Engineering Course Director with Naval Fleet School (Atlantic), he manages eight instructors who teach Royal Canadian Navy sailors about communications and radar equipment. In addition to this role, he also teaches the management course required for members promoting to the PO1 rank and is the health promotions representative for Campus Atlantic.

Outside of work, his high tempo lifestyle doesn’t stop. To feed his passion for health and fitness, PO1 Bressette is involved in a karate group, Halifax World Kanreikai Karate and The Eastern Watchmen lightsaber combat group. And when his wife Lyndsay was diagnosed with epilepsy in December 2016, he added volunteer work with the Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia (EANS) to his list of extra-curriculars.

Epilepsy is a condition of the brain characterized by recurrent seizures, and is a disorder about which PO1 Bressette and wife have been continuously learning. “I have been with Lyndsay for over a decade but she was only formally diagnosed in the last few years,” he explains, speaking about the effects the diagnosis has had on his family. “It makes life more challenging, and her safety is always on my mind. The medication is expensive and it was difficult to find her employment so it brings financial concerns as well.”

Through their membership with EANS, PO1 Bressette and Lyndsay have attended and volunteered at local events, all of which have provided them with valuable education on the help that’s available to families affected by epilepsy. Many of EANS’ larger public events are planned around Purple Day, an international day for epilepsy awareness held annually on March 26. Last year, Lyndsay delivered a speech at the EANS’ Purple Day Gala and they both attended a Purple Day flag raising at Halifax City Hall.

Now recognized internationally, Purple Day saw its humble beginnings in Nova Scotia in 2008 after its founder, Halifax native Cassidy Megan, became motivated by her own struggles. “Cassidy is someone I met through EANS,” explains PO1 Bressette. “She is probably one of the best known advocates for epilepsy awareness and started Purple Day when she was just 8 years old. I now consider her a friend and inspiration.”

And PO1 Bressette is taking that inspiration as fuel to help spread epilepsy awareness to the Defence community at CFB Halifax. On March 26 during morning colours at 8:00 a.m., PO1 Bressette, Lyndsay and representatives from EANS will be on-hand to witness a Purple Day flag raising at Base Headquarters (S90). All Defence Team members are welcome to attend. After the flag raising, the representatives will gather in the Stadacona chapel for anyone looking for more information on epilepsy.

“The more education and awareness that happens will assist people in knowing the resources, getting help and reducing stigma,” explains PO1 Bressette, who hails from Honey Harbour, Ontario but has nothing but good things to say about the epilepsy supports available here in Nova Scotia. “If you, a family member or friend has epilepsy, please reach out for assistance. It is a very difficult illness but Nova Scotia has lots of resources to help including an amazing Epilepsy Monitoring Unit at the QE2. Don’t suffer in silence.”

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