Epilepsy Walk takes steps against disease

Members of Jilli's Silly Walkers, including Jillian Smalley, Kristi Smalley and Mark Smalley, hold a banner while participating in the seventh annual Northwest Run/Walk for Epilepsy in Hermiston.

More than 75 people enjoyed a leisurely 1-mile stroll beginning at McKenzie Park during the Northwest Run/Walk for Epilepsy in Hermiston

In its seventh year, the June 17 event aims to raise money, awareness and support for people who live with epilepsy/seizure disorders.

After completing the walk, the participants gathered in front of The Arc Building for a short presentation. The Arc president Michele Keitzke shared information about the services offered by the Northwest Epilepsy Foundation, including providing medications for homeless people with seizure disorders. Next on the program was a testimonial by Yaya Martinez, mother of 22-month-old, Alexia, who was diagnosed with a seizure disorder shortly after birth.

Martinez shared that her daughter is her “Epilepsy Hero” for continuing to grow and thrive despite the challenges of living with this complex disorder that impacts one in 26 people. The crowd, including many family and friends sporting bright pink “Team Alexia” T-shirts, cheered when Martinez declared that, due to medications, Alexia had been seizure-free for one year.

The event raised more than $7,000, which is split between the Epilepsy Foundation and The Arc Umatilla County. Prior to the walk, coffee was provided by Dutch Bros. Coffee along with fruit provided by Fiesta Foods. Many local businesses provided a variety of items resulting in door prizes for all participants.

“It is truly amazing how this community embraces this event every year,” said Keitzke.

For more information about epilepsy, visit www.epilepsynw.org.

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