What brings me to being involved with the Epilepsy Foundation is the loss of my brother, Paul Eugene Smith. He died far too young at the age of 22 as the result of a fall during a seizure in 2010. At the time he was nearing graduation from Humboldt State University with a degree in History. We both attended the school at the time and if it weren't for us going to the same college we would not have had the opportunity to get to closer and get to know each other as young adults. He was an outgoing, very funny, athletic and intelligent young man just beginning to realize his potential in life. He was involved in a rock band as a singer, guitarist and song writer and performed on campus and at social events. He was very social and had many very close friends from college and from his childhood.
After his sudden and tragic passing, my uncle, aunt and cousin starting working with the Epilepsy Foundation to create a scholarship in Paul's memory for college students with epilepsy. For the first couple of years after he passed, I felt paralyzed in terms of what I could do to honor him and remember him. During those years I became a marathon and ultra-marathon runner and helped create and organize a half marathon event at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Running long distance has helped give me peace of mind through this tragedy. When the idea started coming together for the Epilepsy Foundation to create a running event to raise awareness for people with epilepsy, it was clear to me that I wanted to be a part of making this happen.