2018 BOSTON MARATHON!!!
March 28, 2018
I ran my first full marathon with Athletes vs. Epilepsy in 2013 and to be honest, I had never shared my journey or met other people with Epilepsy before the day I registered for that race. Running the Marine Corps Marathon that year with Athletes vs. Epilepsy made me more aware of the world around me both as an athlete, one living with epilepsy, and also regarding my knowledge of what it was like for others living with the many different forms of the condition. I met a father running for his son suffering from progressive myoclonic epilepsy, a mother and daughter running for someone lost due to SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy), and among others with other stories, I also met people just like me who suffer from partial seizures/secondarily generalized seizures who were running because they have the condition and still wanted to do what they could for all those who struggle with it.
I was diagnosed with Epilepsy after suffering a grand mal seizure at my office in 2010. Fitness and running had become a way of life for me about a year prior to my diagnosis and as it turned out, working out often triggered my simple and/or complex partial seizures (and unfortunately, a few secondarily generalized seizures). I went through a few years of great difficulty after my diagnosis, enduring frequent anxiety and panic attacks and going through at least 7 different medications/therapies trying to control this neurological condition which were unsuccessful and often had terrible side-effects. In the Spring of 2012 I had reached a point where the personal trainer I was working with and I knew I could not work out at night but during the morning my seizures were well controlled. In looking for more morning workout opportunities I was told about a workout group called November Project. This group became a community that I didn't even know I needed at the time and because of consistent positivity gained through the friendships I made as well as through the fitness itself, my seizures became less severe and more controlled. I came down from 3 medications to 2 and due to this new found strength I knew as soon as the impromptu opportunity arose that I wanted to sign up for the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon with Athletes vs. Epilepsy. I am happy to say that while my partial seizures are still not completely controlled, I have run another marathon since MCM2013, come completely off one of the two aforementioned medications I was on and also switched to a smaller dose of a different/newer therapy that doesn't have as many cognitive side-effects . I thank November Project everyday for the support during my training and consider the group the reason I regained my physical and mental health. I will always consider them my community and my family.
Today I work in a corporate environment where I know and converse with other people living with epilepsy who are capable of working either in the office or remotely depending on how they feel on any given day. Unfortunately, others are not offered this work/life balance in their workplace or, for that matter, they are unable to even find/obtain the medications/therapies that could help control their seizures that would then give them the opportunity to find a job like the one I am lucky enough to have and maintain.
Athletes vs. Epilepsy is a nationwide program for athletes of all ages and levels, coaches, volunteers and fans. The goal is to raise awareness, build participation, and help fund the Epilepsy Foundation’s mission to stop seizures and SUDEP, find a cure, and overcome the challenges created by epilepsy through efforts including education, advocacy, and research to accelerate ideas into therapies. The initiative helps to bring epilepsy awareness to all sports through participation by athletes of all ages and skill levels as well as their supportive friends, family, and fans.
The Epilepsy Foundation of America is dedicated to ensuring that people with epilepsy can experience all that life has to offer. Athletes vs. Epilepsy affirms this positive message and embodies it through action and the belief that anyone, regardless of athletic talent, can help to fundraise and raise awareness.
What you read above about Athletes vs. Epilepsy and the Epilepsy Foundation of America is exactly why I ran in 2013. While others cannot fundraise/advocate by running, I can and so I do. I am more than incredibly grateful to have had MCM 2013 as my first full marathon experience benefitting this initiative and am beyond excited to be running with Athletes vs Epilepsy once again at the New York City Marathon in November 2016.
YOU can make a difference in your life, my life, and in the lives of others. Please consider donating to this cause through my fundraising page and/or join the Athletes vs. Epilepsy initiative.