Run for Epilepsy success shows difference one person can make

July 31, 2013

Trevor and Katie Lewis accomplished their goal of raising enough money to launch an epilepsy agency in Thunder Bay during last year’s inaugural Run for Epilepsy, and the father-and-daughter team is planning to direct proceeds from this year’s marathon to build upon that success.

Trevor and Katie Lewis embrace after completing last year’s Thunder Bay Marathon. (Photo courtesy of Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal/Brent Linton. Used by permission.)
Trevor and Katie Lewis embrace after completing the 2011 Thunder Bay Marathon. (Photo courtesy of Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal/Brent Linton. Used by permission.)

The 2012 Run for Epilepsy raised about $17,000, which helped open the Northwestern Ontario Epilepsy Association, an Epilepsy Ontario affiliate. Money raised from this year’s Run for Epilepsy, to be held in Thunder Bay Aug. 11, will help continue support for the agency.

Opening the Northwestern Ontario Epilepsy Association was a crucial success, as there had not been an agency in northwestern Ontario to provide supports or advocacy to people living with seizure disorders.

“Now that the Northwestern Ontario Epilepsy Association is opening up, there is now a place where people can go where there’s going to be a support group, where there’s going to be some advocacy, where people can reach out and talk to people (in similar situations),” says Trevor.

Already, the agency has a paediatrician and an adult neurologist on its steering committee, creating a direct tie to the medical community for both adults and children with seizure disorders.

Trevor and Katie, who are both living with seizure disorders, note this achievement speaks to the power of what people can do at the grassroots level. In fact, the success Trevor and Katie have garnered from the Run for Epilepsy has inspired others — people from the Niagara Falls region and Kingston have expressed interest in starting their own runs next year.

“We want to get as many people on board as possible to make that a reality,” Trevor says.

The idea for the Run for Epilepsy was sparked by Katie in 2010. After watching her dad train for and compete in a run to raise money for a local children’s music festival that year, she asked Trevor if the pair could train together for a run to raise money for Epilepsy Ontario, which would then be given to the epilepsy unit at University Hospital in London, Ont., where Katie had life-changing brain surgery.

Running under the banner of Epilepsy Ontario, the pair raised $8,000 during the 2011 Thunder Bay Marathon.

After that success, the Running Room contacted them to discuss collaborating to launch a run dedicated solely to raising money for epilepsy causes, and the rest is history.

“This is a classic case of how one person can make a difference,” Trevor says.

He and Katie have not set a fundraising goal for this year’s Run for Epilepsy — just to raise “as much as possible,” as Katie puts it.

One thing Trevor and Katie say they learned from organizing last year’s event is the value of patience. They admit they were concerned about the turnout because registration numbers were initially low. However, the number of entries quickly increased in the two weeks before the run. By the time the big day arrived, 304 people had registered — including about 50 people who signed up that morning.

“We’re looking at that exact same pattern happening again this year, (but we have) more patience watching the registrations this year and we anticipate about the same numbers,” says Trevor, adding runners have registered from as far away as southern Ontario and Manitoba.

The 2013 Run for Epilepsy will be held in Thunder Bay on Aug. 11, with participants meeting at the Confederation College Fitness Centre at 9 a.m. The event features three distance categories: a 2.5-kilometre and a five-kilometre “run, walk or roll” event and a 10-kilometre fun run.
Click here for more information on the 2013 Run for Epilepsy.

Click here to join the Run for Epilepsy Facebook page.

Twitter: @RunForEpilepsy

Writer: Deron Hamel

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