Sunday, Oct. 21 marks the fourth annual Paul's Run for Epilepsy. This 5K run/walk will take place at the Gary Morava Recreational Center in Prospect Heights. The run is organized by the family of Paul Schmidt, a Prospect Heights man who died in 2008 at the age of 21 from SUDEP (sudden unexplained death in epilepsy).
Because of the support of corporate sponsorships, individual donations and racer registration fees, this event continues to raise approximately $20,000 annually, and is on its way to a grand total of more than $60,000 to date.
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This year, all proceeds from the race will benefit the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago. This foundation is a community-based nonprofit organization delivering support, education, and advocacy for individuals and families affected by seizures. The Epilepsy Foundation is the only organization that provides the full range of resources a person with epilepsy needs to achieve their life goals and not lose another moment to seizures.
Paul Schmidt was a longtime athlete from Prospect Heights. He began experiencing seizures in 2001 at the age of 15, and for the next six years of his life he faced a grueling uphill battle with near-weekly tonic colonic (previously known as grand mal) seizures. During that time he saw many epilepsy experts within the Chicago area, tried several medications, and even underwent a promising surgical treatment. However, as is the case for one third of people with epilepsy, Paul's seizures remained uncontrollable.
On Oct. 17, 2008, Paul's body went into cardiac arrest and his breathing stopped, at the age of 21. Two days later he died, joining the 50,000 Americans who die each year of epilepsy.
Epilepsy is a neurological condition that affects the nervous system. It affects more than 3 million Americans. According to the foundation, one in 10 adults will have a seizure during their lifetime. In 40 percent of the patients, seizures cannot be controlled with treatment.
Epilepsy is commonly known as "seizure disorder." A seizure is a medical emergency and if it is not stopped within 30 minutes, it can lead to permanent injury or death. In more than half of epilepsy patients, the cause is still unknown, and can happen to anyone, which is why support for continued epilepsy research is in dire need.
Join us this Sunday as we continue "Taking Steps to Find a Cure." For information visit www.PaulsRunForEpilepsy.org.