Saving Grace Epilepsy Foundation, a local nonprofit that aims to help those with epilepsy maintain a normal life, is presenting the “One Mile for Epilepsy Challenge,” a virtual event happening on Saturday, Nov. 21 to bring awareness to the disorder.
“I think people should participate because we need to bring awareness to epilepsy,” said Derra Howard, President and Founder of Saving Grace. “Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disease or disorder, and it does not get the attention and funding that it needs.”
“And it’s Epilepsy Awareness Month,” she added.
To join in the challenge, residents can simply walk or run one mile and tag Saving Grace’s Instagram (@sgepilepsyfdn) using the hashtag #onemileforepilepsy. Participants are encouraged to wear purple as it is the international color for epilepsy awareness.
“One in 26 people in the United States will develop epilepsy at some point in their life, and one in 10 may have a seizure during their lifetime. So that one mile is for that one person,” explained Howard, who will be livestreaming her walk on the organization’s Instagram.
Howard shared that she had struggled with the disorder for several years.
“I started having it at the age of 10,” she remembered. “When I was going through my years as an adolescent, I had various ups and downs. But when I got in the workforce, I kept getting fired from jobs for my epilepsy.”
Determined to help others who might share her same experiences, she decided to create Saving Grace.
The organization’s vision is to help individuals with epilepsy find jobs, support ones trying to keep their jobs while fighting employment discrimination, help pay for their medication and transportation and teach seizure safety courses at workplaces and schools.
“A lot of people may know people with epilepsy or they may have it themselves and they’re afraid to talk about it because if this is looked at as being embarrassing,” said Howard, who is now two years seizure free. “So we want to take that stigma away from it.”
“I’ve seen online and in movies people being made fun of for having a seizure. That’s something that someone cannot control,” she said. “I have friends that have almost lost their life from having a seizure. We can’t control it because if we could, believe me, we would.”
To learn more about the “One Mile for Epilepsy Challenge” and/or donate to Saving Grace Epilepsy Foundation, click here.