In honor of Epilepsy Awareness Month, an epilepsy awareness walk took place Saturday in Barboursville Park to raise knowledge for patients and treatment options.
Members of Heroes 4 Higher, Batman and Batwoman, kicked off the event and led the walk around the Barboursville Lake, while interacting with the children attending the event.
Samrina Hanif, epilepsy specialist at Marshall University Neuroscience, helped create the walk and symposium to coincide with Epilepsy Awareness Month.
“This walk today at Barboursville Park is all about raising epilepsy awareness,” Hanif said. “This is the first walk of its kind in this Tri-State area where we are trying to promote different treatment options and work ups for our patients. Whether it’s children with autism or adults with hemangiomas or strokes who then go on to develop seizures we just want to raise awareness so that people are aware that there are different treatment options out there.”
Cabell Huntington Hospital, Marshall Neuroscience and various epilepsy medication and device therapy vendors all sponsored the event.
“This walk is mostly patient and family driven,” Hanif said. “It was upon their support and the enthusiasm that we initiated this.”
“I’m really, really happy with the turnout,” Hanif said. “I love the enthusiasm, there are so many families here who have turned up and what was inspiring was that one child or adult with epilepsy and 15 members of their family were there supporting them. It’s just a community effort and I feel that in the same way the whole family can get together then the whole community can support epilepsy treatment options, epilepsy awareness and how to combat it in the future.”
Dru Miltenberger, 11-year-old Southside Elementary student, attended the event with her family and took part in the day’s activities to raise awareness.
Miltenberger was diagnosed with cortical dysplasia at age 8 and has since had five brain surgeries, her most recent being in Aug.
“Today has been fun and everyone is nice,” Dru Miltenberger said. “It’s nice people came out to support epilepsy.”
Dru Miltenberger’s brain surgeries were intended to remove the spot of her brain that was causing the seizures. Once removed, the seizures began occurring in a different spot that was not active before.
“She was up to 30 seizures a day and still functioning,” Dru Miltenberger’s mother, Colleen Miltenberger said. “She still has about five a day but she does her own thing. She plays softball and basketball, we can’t play basketball this year because we just had surgery and left her partially paralyzed on her left side.”
Along with the walk, an educational symposium will take place in the atrium of the Marshall University Medical Center on Nov. 10 from 3-5 p.m. where you can meet neurologists and learn more about epilepsy.
Kelsie Lively can be contacted at lively[email protected]