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May 31, 2019
This paid piece is sponsored by GreatLIFE Golf & Fitness.
When South Dakota’s first Walk to End Epilepsy comes to the GreatLIFE Fitness & Performance Center next month, it will be all about beginnings: Beginning to raise awareness about the disease and hopefully raising enough money to begin a South Dakota chapter of the national Epilepsy Foundation.
Marissa Corado, whose 5-year-old daughter, MaKenlee, was diagnosed with the neurological disorder last year, is part of a committee organizing the June 22 event.
She’s also the chair of Kid’s Crew, an organization that hosts free events to bring together children who suffer from or are impacted by epilepsy.
“We do our best to connect children and families and create those long-lasting friendships,” she said.
With help from the Nebraska Epilepsy Foundation and GreatLIFE Golf & Fitness, the emerging South Dakota Epilepsy Foundation is hoping its kickoff event will allow it to continue its efforts to foster a community for people impacted by the disease.
Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder and affects people of all ages. It’s characterized by unpredictable seizures that can lead to other health problems and varies from person to person.
Corado’s daughter suffers from seizures frequently throughout the day, which hinder her learning ability — but Corado stresses MaKenlee is still capable of doing the same things as other kids her age.
“We want people to know that anyone with a brain can get epilepsy and anyone with a brain can help fight it,” Corado said.
So far, 10 teams and 77 participants have signed up for the walk, and donations have reached almost $18,000.
A South Dakota Epilepsy Foundation chapter would work to provide seizure safety programs in schools around the state, something Corado said is vital to ensuring children who suffer from epilepsy will be taken care of in the event of a seizure during the school day.
“It’s important we get the South Dakota Epilepsy Foundation developed here because if we do have a local foundation, then that will create individual and family support services as well as an advocate to fight for the rights of those with epilepsy,” Corado said.
The chapter also would help manage Kid’s Crew, different support groups and other local programs for those who suffer — either directly or indirectly — from epilepsy.
“GreatLIFE has been an extremely influential source of support for not only hosting the walk but for promoting it as well,” Corado said.
A number of Sioux Falls organizations also have sponsored or donated to the walk, including Avera Health, First Bank & Trust, Vern Eide, Plains Commerce Bank, LivaNova, Sanford Health, Lewis Drug and the Mertz Foundation.
The Walk to End Epilepsy will take place at the GreatLIFE Performance Center at 5901 S. Southeastern Ave. Check-in starts at 8 a.m. and participants can register at walktoendepilepsy.org under the Sioux Falls walk. Registration is free, and donations are encouraged.
South Dakota’s first Epilepsy Walk is coming in June with a big goal: Establishing a state chapter of the Epilepsy Foundation.