Thursday, March 25, 2010

Purple Day - Epilepsy Awareness

Purple Day was started in 2008, by nine-year-old Cassidy Megan of Nova Scotia, Canada. It is an international grassroots effort dedicated to increasing awareness about epilepsy worldwide. On March 26, people from around the globe are asked to wear purple and spread the word about epilepsy.

Epilepsy affects over 50 million people worldwide. That's more than multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson's disease combined.

When I was a boy I suffered from a mild form of epilepsy. I had episodes called petit mals. A petit mal seizure is the term commonly given to a staring spell, most commonly called an "absence seizure." It is a brief (usually less than 15 seconds) disturbance of brain function due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain. I had no idea that other people did not experience them. I could feel them coming on and knew to sit down or hold on to something for a few seconds.

School Photo

The first time that my Mother witnessed one of my petit mals she was very scared. I guess that my eyes rolled back in my head. I knew that for those few seconds that I could not see, but did not know that my eyes rolled back. I didn't think that it was a big deal, but we had to see the doctor as soon as possible. The doctors were able to control the petit mals with medication, and told me that I would most likely outgrow them by the time I was 20. Fortunately I did, and was taken off of the medication by the time I was 18 or 19.

The main reason for my Purple Day Epilepsy Awareness post is because of my blog friend Michele over at Rocky Mountain Retreat Photography. Take a look at her blog and you will see some of the most outstanding photography you will find anywhere. I always enjoy her blog. Michele is an excellent photographer, but she battles epilepsy and suffers from tonic clonic (gran mal) seizures.

Michele says that she has been suffering seizures since she was a young person. People with seizures often suffer more from the attitudes of those around them than from the seizures itself. Michele is in my prayers daily as she battles the seizures.

Please take the time to learn more about this condition that affects over 50 million people worldwide. Based on recent surveys, The Center For Disease Control estimates that nearly 2.5 million people in the United States have epilepsy, with 150,000 developing the condition each year.


I am very involved in my local Relay For Life. You can view my Relay For Life Blog here.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Richard Lawry - A Part Of The Relay For Life

March 10,2010 Polk County Pulse
Article written by Michael Reisig

Richard Lawry enjoys traveling with his wife, he loves tinkering on old cars and spending time with his son and his daughter, but one of his passions in life is promoting awareness about cancer and raising funds to defeat this dreaded disease in all it's aspects, so that his grandchildren can grow up in a world with less risk of cancer.

Lawry was born in Tennessee but he was raised in Colorado, in the Loveland area.

"My dad had a used car lot and a body shop," he recalled. "When I graduated from high school in 1973, I went on to take over my dad's business. My parents moved to Polk County in 1977. I got married to my wife, Regina, and we visited my folks in Mena several times. We decided it would be a great place to raise kids so, in 1981, we moved here.

My wife had lived in Denver all of her life, so there was a degree of culture shock in the transition, but we settled in and came to love the place," he continued. "Now we wouldn't be anywhere else. My dad had a car lot here as well, so after we settled in, I opened a glass and auto-body shop (Richie's Discount Auto Glass) at his location. I've done that for the last 30 years. In the process we raised two children, Cynda and Gavin, and we now have two grandchildren."

Lawry said that over the years his wife developed a passion for promoting an awareness about cancer, because her family has been stricken by the disease several times. Her mother, father, brother, and three sisters have all had cancer.

"Regina chose this as her mission - to help foster awareness on this disease and to help combat it," he explained. "She became involved with a program called Relay For Life, which is sponsored by the American cancer Society. She first learned about it when visiting her sister in Washington State. They promoted the Relay there which is a relay team event wherein participants walk to show there support for cancer survivors, and honor those lost to the disease.

"This may have its sober moments but it's really a feel-good event because everyone is there to celebrate survival - the survivors are the stars of the event," he continued. "There is great entertainment and it's a fun time - it's a celebration.

Lawry said in 2007 Polk County held its first Relay For Life, and when he and his wife heard about this, they wanted to be part of it all.

"The first year we had one of the relay teams, which is really the fund-raising part of the event, Lawry explained. "Each team does their fund-raising for about a three month period leading up to the relay, then continues fund-raising at the actual event by selling food or participating in other activities. It's an all night thing.

"This year's event is April 23 and right now we have 23 teams and over 350 people signed up to participate in the fund-raising and the Relay itself," he continued. "The Relay shows community spirit because we are honoring individuals from this community."

Lawry continued by saying that it's necessary for people to understand that survival rates have increased dramatically in the last 30 years, and that's due in large, to cancer research, and much of this cancer research is funded by The American Cancer Society and its Relay For Life program.

"I relay for my children and my grandchildren, so they will face a world with far less risk of cancer," he said. "We have to continually make advances against this challenge. We would really like to have the community come out on April 23 and share this celebration with us -- to spread awareness and understanding. Anyone interested in being a part of this can contact me at 394-6172.

"We are also having a 'Bark For Life' Dog Show on Sunday, March 28, at the Polk County Fairgrounds at 2 p.m.," he added. "This is a fun sort of tongue-in-cheek affair, with awards for the ugliest dog, hairiest dog, best dressed, etc. Come out and join the fun, and be part of a wonderful, important mission."