Washington, April 25, 2013—It was a crisp, clear spring morning, Saturday April 20th for The 7th Annual Epilepsy Foundation’s 3-mile walk. Approximately 4,000 walkers gathered at the base of the Washington Monument in the District of Columbia sporting white and purple. Epilepsy sufferers were decked out in purple. While supporters, family members and friends wore white. Big white event tents were erected with colorful streamers whirling in the wind. By 8:30am a big crowd had gathered in front of the main stage. Young and old were having a great time participating in the warm up routine along side The Foundation’s staff. You couldn’t help but get caught up in the excitement and anticipation of the walk. Soon after the warm up we were underway. The course took us down to the tidal basin around the Jefferson Memorial, then alongside the riverbanks of The Potomac River. Walkers then took a sharp right up Constitution by the new MLK Monument. Along the way participants shared stories of loses and triumphs in their fight against epilepsy. By eleven o’clock, the last of the finishers rolled in. Festivities continued on the grounds of The Washington Monument until noon. The race was filled with people of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds. Epilepsy surely does not discriminate.
My husband and I and his brother, Chris and friend Brian walked with the CURE CREW. CURE: Citizen United for Research in Epilepsy. The entire event raised $905,000. Contributions will be used to help improve the lives of those living with epilepsy. Currently, one-third of the 2 million suffering epilepsy live with uncontrolled, and sometimes life threatening seizures. The Foundation funnels money to researchers and programs that promote increased access to seizure management therapies.
To our surprise, during the walk, we ran into several of his military buddies. According to the Epilepsy Foundation approximately 320,000 service members have sustained Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) over the past 12 years due to OIF/OEF. Majority of the injuries are mild but many others are moderate to severe. An estimate of 15% of those with TBI will develop Post Traumatic Epilepsy (PTE), which is anywhere between 50,000 to 150,000 warriors. PTE is most likely to occur with a penetrating head injury such as from gunshot wound or shrapnel from an IED or RPG. Below is the Epilepsy Foundation’s definition of epilepsy:
Seizures are characterized by a sudden change in movement, behavior, sensation or consciousness produced by an abnormal electrical discharge in the brain. Epilepsy is a medical condition that produces seizures affecting a variety of mental and physical functions. Epilepsy is also called a seizure disorder. When a person has two or more unprovoked seizures, they are considered to have epilepsy.
Check out facebook to see more pictures of the walk:
The Epilepsy Foundation has a whole Veterans Section
If you may have Epilepsy, or if your loved on is suffering from uncontrolled seizures it could be a place to start.