A walk for epilepsy: First ever event features two-mile walk, kids games, face painting and a pizza meal
BEMIDJI--About 40 people gathered on Tuesday at Diamond Point Park for Bemidji's first ever Walk for Epilepsy. Featuring a two-mile walk, kids games, face painting and a pizza meal, the event was put on by the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota to ...
BEMIDJI-About 40 people gathered on Tuesday at Diamond Point Park for Bemidji's first ever Walk for Epilepsy.
Featuring a two-mile walk, kids games, face painting and a pizza meal, the event was put on by the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota to raise awareness and money for people affected by epilepsy.
Tia Barthorpe, the local organizer for the event, said her family has been involved with the foundation since her daughter started having seizures.
"She was diagnosed when she was five," Barthorpe said. "She had the severe kind of epilepsy, status epilepticus."
Her daughter, Karisa Barthorpe, is now 23-years-old, and hasn't had a seizure since she was 14. She is now a licensed practical nurse in Grand Forks, working toward becoming a registered nurse.
Because they had to travel so far for Epilepsy Foundation events, including the walks and zoo visits in Duluth and Twins game trips, Barthorpe said she wanted to bring an event to a more local setting.
"We're actually from Cass Lake, so we would go to Duluth just about every year," she said. "I think we've only missed that walk twice. It'd be like we were the only ones from the northern part of Minnesota that were there. This way it's closer for everyone (in this area)."
Wendy Ellis-Mickel was also at the walk because of personal ties to epilepsy. She listed Tia's daughter, her nephew Jace Cowan and many of her massage therapy patients as reasons to attend and volunteer at the event.
Cowan was one of a few people to stand up and share with the crowd how epilepsy affects him, saying if he hasn't had a seizure for more than a year, but without his medication he would have 60 seizures a day.
"They need to know they're not going through it by themselves," Ellis-Mickel said. "Because it can be really scary when they don't understand fully all of it. And not all of them have families that have medical people in it to help support them."