Katie's Run targets $100K at finish line
|By Mark Arike - Staff Writer | June 22, 2017
Epilepsy doesn’t just affect the sufferer. It’s also a rollercoaster ride for loved ones, especially parents.
In 2016, the organizers of Katie’s Run decided to feature the stories of moms dealing with this unpredictable and extremely challenging way of life. Now they are turning to dads to reflect on their experiences.
One of those dads is local resident Max Ward. Epilepsy wasn’t something he thought about until his daughter, Emily Austin-Ward, was diagnosed with it last July at the age of nine.
“Emily's first seizure was on Canada Day just before the fireworks were to get started in Minden,” recalled Ward.
While waiting for the show to start, he noticed Emily was looking off in the distance with her eyes shifted to the left. He asked her what she was looking at, but she didn’t reply. After a couple of attempts to get her attention, it was evident something was wrong.
Ward rushed his daughter to the Minden hospital. The next day, she had another seizure before being taken to the Pediatric Outpatient Clinic in Peterborough. She had more seizures.
“Since that first seizure, people have come forward to say they know someone with epilepsy or even different individuals have come forward to say that he or she lives with epilepsy. Their stories have been a real assurance that Emily can lead a happy life even with epilepsy,” said Ward.
Katie’s Run was inspired by Geri’s daughter, Katie Woudstra. She was diagnosed with epilepsy at 16. After a lot of trial and error, she found the right medications and has been seizure-free for five years.
Katie lives in British Columbia and is studying to become a dental assistant.
“Things are going well,” she said in an interview in Haliburton.
In the past five years, the run has raised more than $100,000 for epilepsy research. This year’s goal is $33,334 because every dollar raised will be matched with an additional two dollars from the Ontario Brain Institute (OBI), a research institute funded by the provincial government.
If the event reaches its goal, $100,000 will be donated to EpLink, the epilepsy research program at the OBI.
The Woudstras don’t plan to give up supporting epilepsy research anytime soon.
“I know so many people who are still suffering,” said Katie, explaining that many have tried numerous medications but to no avail.
“I feel so blessed ... I will forever push for this cause.”
The 6th annual event is this Saturday. It includes 10K and 5K runs along the Haliburton County Rail Trail, and a 2.5K family walk/run around the high school’s track. A silent auction and barbecue hosted by the Haliburton Lions Club will be part of the festivities.
For full details and to register, visit katiesrun.ca or call 705-457-8556.
MARK ARIKE is a reporter for The Highlander.