Purple power

By on April 24, 2014

Photo: Event organizer and Kaneland junior Samantha Havlin, 17, with her mother Melissa prior to the event. Photo by Lynn Logan

Community ‘seizes the purple’ at 5k event
KANELAND—Elburn resident Samantha Havlin recently organized the epilepsy awareness event “Seize the Purple,” which took place at Kaneland Harter Middle School on Saturday.

Havlin, a junior at Kaneland High School, confirmed that her DECA project was a success.

“Many people were more educated about epilepsy,” she said. “And it was just a really good environment. A perfect day for it.”

Attendees could learn lots of information about epilepsy, a neurological disorder that produces seizures and affects a person’s physical and mental functions.

Information posted on a “Seize the Purple” webpage provided information on epilepsy, including the fact that 65 million people have epilepsy, with 3 million in America. The website also noted that 130,000 people who have epilepsy live in the Chicagoland area.

“Seize the Purple” attendees could also learn about what to do if they are present when someone has a seizure.
According to Havlin, about 115 attended the event, which was a 5k walk and run. She said that about 90 people walked or ran.

Havlin added that “Seize the Purple” raised about $3,000. The total includes those who participated in the walk and run, along with donations.

All money raised will go to Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago for people affected by epilepsy.

Sugar Grove resident Josh Marczuk, an eighth-grader at HMS, has epilepsy, and participated in the event by jogging and walking. He was diagnosed with epilepsy during this year’s basketball season.

Marczuk reflected on how he felt about the people coming out to the “Seize the Purple.”

“I felt good,” he said. “It was fun knowing that people care.”

Event attendees dined on free cheese, pepperoni and sausage pizzas. Children ages 10 and under participated in the Easter Egg Dash and sought out colorful eggs on the school’s track. The eggs also featured green and blue Kindness Campaign wristbands.

Elburn resident Heather Partoll was a participant in the “Seize the Purple” event.

“It was a nice day for a run,” she said. “It was nice to see community members come together, support the cause.”

Sharon Marczuk, mother of Josh, walked the race at a brisk pace with a crew of family.

“Josh was there,” Sharon said. “So it’s quite obvious that even though he has epilepsy, he still leads a full, normal life. And that (epilepsy) can happen to anybody.”