Fourth Annual Running of Paul’s Run for Epilepsy

For those affected by epilepsy, the fear of not knowing when the next seizure will come is terrifying. Whether it be in class, at home, at the grocery store, or with friends, seizures can happen at any time. Epilepsy can be caused by a brain injury, birth defect, or genetic transfer. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, 2.2 million Americans are affected by epilepsy; 37 people in this school are affected by it.

Organizations and fundraisers have raised money and attempted to come up with ways to cure epilepsy. Although surgeries exist to cure epilepsy, they are extremely expensive and have no guarantee of a full recovery. Other ways of calming seizures is medicine. However, the medicine is very expensive; medicine can cost up to $20,000 a year; that is similar to a year in college.

Paul with Sara, his seizure response dog
Courtesy of Debi Schmidt

Paul Schmidt was 15 when he had his first seizure. His seizure was caused by juvenile myoclonic epilepsy; Paul had it from birth, but he was unaware of it until his first seizure, which usually occurs during 12 to 18 years of an adolescent’s life.

In 2007, Paul underwent a surgery that implanted the Vagus Nerve Stimulator in hope of curing his seizures. However, like 30% of those who undergo the surgery, the seizures continued. Sadly, 12 days before his 21st birthday Paul went into cardiac arrest, his breathing stopped, and he died two days later. Paul died a rare death of SUDEP: Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy. Paul joined the 50,000 American who die each year due to epilepsy.

In honor of Paul a 5k run fundraiser was created. According to Paul’s mom Debi Schmidt, “Shortly after our son died, my husband’s sister, Merry Wurster, and her husband Dwayne Wurster approached my husband and me about organizing a 5K in Paul’s memory. Merry is the organizer of the event and really the majority of the work with putting on the event.” Due to Paul’s death, his family wanted to raise money for epilepsy. In their attempt to do this they created Paul’s Run for Epilepsy.

The fourth annual run will take place Sunday October 21st at Gary Morava Recreation Center; it will start at nine a.m. All of the money raised from the run will be donated to the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago. All participants will receive goody bags, and the top three participants in each age group will receive a medal. The youth 5k event, for ages 17 and under will cost $20, the one mile run for kids 12 and under is $10, and the adult 5k event will cost $30. Once again, all the proceeds go to the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago.

Please come out on October 21st to support Paul and all of those effected by epilepsy. With the money raised, a cure for epilepsy may become available to all of those affected by the disease. Let’s try and cure epilepsy and save nearly 50,000 Americans a year. Just a reminder the event takes places Sunday October 21st at Gary Morava Recreation Center. Registration starts at seven a.m and the run starts at 9 a.m. Every stride and step can save a life.


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