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Mustang swimmers display community support Phillip Brents | Fri, Apr 11 2014 06:52 PM

Sharon’s Ride/Run/Walk for Epilepsy is one of the largest epilepsy awareness events in the United States. On March 30, the Epilepsy Foundation of San Diego County saw 2,700 participants unite at De Anza Cove Park in Mission Bay to celebrate epilepsy outreach in the San Diego community. Now in its 14th year, Sharon’s Ride was created to honor the memory of Sharon Rosenfeld, a nurse and teacher who worked to better the lives of individuals with epilepsy.

Historically, the neurological disorder has been surrounded with stigma. Individuals with epilepsy were stereotyped and isolated from society. Today we know epilepsy is incredibly individualized; it can occur at any stage in life and affects each person differently. One third of individuals are able to control their seizures with diet or medications, while others continue to struggle with treatments and an unexplainable diagnosis. Much more research is needed to understand the cause and eventually find a cure.

About 50,000 individuals are affected by epilepsy in San Diego County.

This year’s fund-raising event featured a user-friendly 15-mile bike ride and 5K walk/run.

Participants could join or create a team to promote epilepsy awareness, champion for someone with epilepsy or honor the memory of an individual.

Members of the Otay Ranch High School swim and water polo teams ran in support for Cassandra Lopez, sister of current team member Alexis Lopez.

Mustang head coach Ernie Medina said team members have participated in the event for the past two years. This is the fourth year that Team Cassandra’s Kisses has participated in the event.

Team Cassandra’s Kisses included more than 50 total team members this year.

Assistant coach Rachael Medina came in first among Women’s Open Division runners.

Cassandra Lopez is a special needs student at Otay Ranch High School with epilepsy. The elder Medina said Alexis and her parents are grateful for the support from the community.

“Our program participates in community events and giving back each season,” the ORHS aquatics coach explained. “In the past the Mustangs have adopted need families, served the homeless, and collected backpacks, blankets, and needs for the homeless.

It’s part of the Mustang Way. We are fortunate and blessed to have a lot in our lives and my athletes know this.”
It’s still not too late to contribute to Sharon’s Ride/Run/Walk for Epilepsy.

Donations are being accepted through April 30, with a goal of reaching $250,000.

The Epilepsy Foundation of San Diego County is dedicated to improving the quality of life for those with epilepsy. Since 1954, the foundation has provided free services including education, counseling, career development, referral, individual advocacy, support groups, in-service educational seminars, scholarships and summer camp for children with epilepsy.

For more information, visit the website at www.epilepsysandiego.org or call (619) 296-0161.

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