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More than $17k raised in Walk to End Epilepsy in Colorado Springs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Memorial Park was decked out in purple Sunday for the annual Walk to END EPILEPSY event in Colorado Springs.

Purple is internationally recognized as the color for epilepsy. Officials say it's due to the historic use of lavender to treat people who lived with epilepsy. The soothing effects of lavender were thought to relax the person experiencing a seizure.

The purpose behind the walks is to bring awareness to and raise funds for the 1 in 26 people who will be diagnosed with epilepsy in their lifetime. According to officials, roughly 65,000 people across Colorado and Wyoming have been diagnosed with epilepsy.

More than $17,600 was raised at Sunday's event and over 450 people attended the walk, including 31 teams. As of Sunday afternoon, donations were still coming in.

The Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado and Wyoming holds these walks annually in three different regions around Colorado. Its mission is to connect, empower, and advocate for those living with epilepsy and for those caring for someone with epilepsy.

"What makes this walk so special is not only do I have epilepsy and I'm here helping others find each other," Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado Youth Programs Coordinator Marissa Cardenas said. "But our DJ has it. We have volunteers that have epilepsy wanting to help others, and I think it's a great way for everyone to know that they're not alone."

The event had a vendor fair with giveaways and prizes for most team spirit, top individual fundraisers, and top teams. Local vendors at the event offered information and resources to the community.

The foundation has a goal to connect people to resources and with others who share the same experiences.

"People can get information on medicine and other programs we have between mental health, camps, and support groups," Cardenas said.

The foundation provides education and awareness, training programs on seizure recognition and first aid, improved access to specialty and supportive care, and mental health resources for those living with epilepsy and those who care for those living with epilepsy.

"We also have a bunch of mental health programs because having epilepsy is no easy stride," Cardenas said "But that's why we do it together and why we have support groups."

For youth impacted by epilepsy, the foundation also provides leadership and camp opportunities.

"The camps is what changed my life," Cardenas said. "I wouldn't be where I am today and the leader I am today without camps breaking me out of my shell. So I'm honored to be able to help run the camps now. Not only do I get to inspire and spark other people's light to help spread awareness. But I also get to show others that yeah we have epilepsy, but it doesn't mean we can't work towards our goals and do what other people do."

For more information on Walk to END EPILEPSY, or to make a monetary donation, click here.

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Natasha Lynn

Natasha is a reporter for Good Morning Colorado during the week and on weekends.

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