Run-walk event in Senoia aimed at epilepsy

A 5K race and 1 mile walk will be held in Senoia Feb. 2 to help raise funds for epilepsy research.

The Cupid Chase is chaired by local resident Mikki Lewis, whose daughter Hadley was diagnosed with epilepsy after her first grand mal seizure while in kindergarten in 2008. Since then, Hadley was diagnosed with other related problems including dyslexia, delayed fine motor skills and other issues.

Hadley’s condition became more complicated last year as she began having fragmented seizures in addition to absence seizures, Lewis said. The result is that three different pediatric neurologists have told the family “they have no idea why this is happening or what we can expect for her future,” Lewis wrote in a letter asking friends to participate in the run/walk event.

Organizers are promising a fun-filled family event with the 5K run/walk at 8 a.m. Feb. 2, followed by a one-mile “walk of encouragement” at 9 a.m. There will be coffee and hot chocolate stations along with valentine making stations, as the valentines will be delivered to children's hospitals.

As for Hadley, doctors have tried four different medicines to control her seizures. But the side effects of some of the medications can seem worse than the actual seizures themselves. Because the seizure medication can’t be immediately stopped, the side effects such as hallucinations, mood swings and extreme fatigue can linger for weeks or months, Lewis said.

Hadley, who is now in the fifth grade, has been fortunate to have recently found a medication that seems to control her seizures with minimal side effects, Lewis added. The challenge is that as she grows (Hadley is now in fifth grade), her dosage will change and new medications will be necessary.

All proceeds from the event will be donated to Citizens United in Research for Epilepsy, also known as CURE, Lewis said. CURE is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure for epilepsy by raising funds for research and increasing awareness of the prevalence and devastation of the disease.

“When seizures go untreated, brain damage can occur as well as injuries caused by seizures,” Lewis said. “Simple things like riding a bike or hanging from a monkey bar can end up being life threatening if a seizure occurs. ... Seizures can be something as simple as eye twitches or as severe as a full body jerking with loss of consciousness. My goal is to inform as many people as possible about epilepsy so that no one has to go untreated.”

Lewis noted that after Hadley’s first diagnosis, tests confirmed she had been having absence seizures, which appear to be blank stares and actually states of unconsciousness than last eight to 10 seconds.

“I knew that she stared into space, but I had no idea she was having seizures, and I had no idea such a thing even existed,” Lewis said.

To register for the event, visit https://register.runnersfit.com/Search/event.aspx?id=16451. The registration fee is $25 but increases to $28 after Jan. 23. T-shirts will be presented on a first-come, first-serve basis and awards will be given for the top finishers in each age division.

For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Cupid-Chase/454851647905627.

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