On Saturday, June 16, Jasper and I ran in the Northwest Run / Walk for Epilepsy 2012. We ran because Jasper has had seizures, and because we know other children and babies who live with seizures. Seizures in children cause developmental delays. In the worst cases, seizures end young lives before they have barely begun. I do not know whether Jasper is considered to have epilepsy. As a newborn, he experienced subclinical seizures, which led to the discovery that he had suffered infant stroke at birth. Doctors called his seizures “difficult to control” - at two weeks old, he came home from the hospital on three different anti-seizure medications. He did not have a normal EEG until almost six months old. He tapered off his last anti-seizure medication when he was eight months old. Jasper is at risk for seizures for the rest of his life. Having seen the damage seizures can cause - from delays to worst case scenario - I consider us extremely lucky.
I don’t know the official walk participant count but it was not what I expected. I had hoped for a huge turnout - a crowd that would absorb us. Gatherings of diverse people coming together for common cause - cycling, music, epilepsy - is powerful and always moves me deeply. As Jasper and I started out, running, moving ahead of the purple walkers, I swallowed several times to hold back tears, maintain my poker face. I maneuvered Jasper’s stroller between walkers, passed a few other runners. A short run, but it felt good, and I put all my energy into it. We made it around the lake easily - Jasper napping the entire time. As we approached the end - also the beginning - an organizer told me, “You’re the first runner to finish.” The NW Run / Walk is not a competitive event, but I leaned down anyway and whispered to a sleeping Jasper, “We won, baby.”