“Currently there is no cure for epilepsy, and for some individuals the finish line is far from sight. “
On Saturday, March 24th the first annual Purple Day 5K Fun Run and Walk for Epilepsy Awareness was held at the East Riverfront Park in South Jordan, Utah. The event was created by the Green Family (Greg, Angela, Gabriel, Marisa and Natalie) of South Jordan; and the Epilepsy Association of Utah was engaged as the primary designated charity. The race event was designed to build community awareness about epilepsy, promote research and funding for a cure, while encouraging a more active lifestyle for anyone through participation in the 5K run/walk.
What was amazing about the race were the stories that people shared. A sister and daughter had been lost to epilepsy. Another daughter living away had been diagnosed with epilepsy, but kept it from her parents until recently; so they came out to run for her. A mother was diagnosed and the family came out together offering their support. A teacher with Epilepsy and a VNS implant drove hours to run the course, and to have a voice and talk about her Epilepsy. A little boy with seizures had an entire team made up of his extended family come to show their support for him. A young girl with Cerebral Palsy and Epilepsy came out with her mother and grandmother, and together completed walking the entire course. All of the stories were real, and moving; and this is why we want to keep doing this. It hits as close to home for us as it does for others. We become a community. We want to show up, and talk, and know that we are heard and understood.
The Push to the Finish team also participated in the Purple Day 5K with 3 kids from the Epilepsy Association of Utah. PTTF is an organization that places runners with kids who have disabilities that would otherwise not be able to compete in running events. Finisher medals were given to each PTTF participant who completed the course.
To promote the event, we included Purple dri-fit tech shirts, bandannas emblazoned with awareness ribbons, purple sparkle tattoos, wrist bands, pins, and literature in every race bag. It was fun to see how people went all out to dress up and go Purple-crazy on race day!
There were chalk drawings and hula hoops for the kids. Signs drawn by South Jordan Elementary students marked the course to motivate runners. Music was abundant, and refreshments were available for everyone.
So Cupcake made 100 special Purple Velvet cupcakes that were sold from the So Cupcake truck at the event to help raise funds.
There were 160 registered participants and over 200 people who attended the event. Overall and Age Group medals were awarded after the race, and in all 45 medals were handed out. A special Purplicious Peep award and prize package was given to Samantha Heugly for being the most decked-out purplicious participant at the event. Raffle prizes were handed out to participants who had their numbers drawn.
Our inspiration for the event was Natalie, who was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and Epilepsy (due to an in-utero left hemiplegic stroke) when she was eight months old. Natalie is currently eleven years old and has had daily seizures that are partially controlled with medication. In July 2011 she underwent a Pediatric Peri-Insular Hemispherotomy at Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City (the Facebook album of her visit is here). She is currently in a one-year monitoring period to gain a seizure-free diagnosis. We were moved to do something that recognized Epilepsy in the community, and were inspired by Purple Day, a global campaign for Epilepsy Awareness.
The 2013 event goals are to find three primary sponsors for the race, and attain 500 registrants. Next year’s plans include community booths and fair activities, a photo wall, contests and some special appearances in addition to the running event. We are so grateful for everyone’s support that made this possible!
The Purple Day 5K website is http://www.purpleday5k.com.