Alyce contacted Vicki Kopplin after seeing EFMN’s local epilepsy awareness efforts online, to thank EFMN for raising awareness. Here is her story…
My name is Alyce Sala Tenna and I’m a passionate environmental scientist who hails from Perth, Western Australia. I was diagnosed with epilepsy at age twelve, following a motor vehicle accident. Until two years ago, my seizures were well-controlled, but unfortunately I have been not been stable since mid-2012. This experience led me to realize the loss of independence you suffer with epilepsy, and the problematic social stigmas and ignorance around epilepsy. So when the opportunity arose to run the Chicago marathon late last year, I committed, to prove to both myself and inspire others that seizures indeed, do not stop you.
It took eight months of training, required extreme dedication of early mornings and running plans. Training for a marathon is no easy feat, particularly when you have a medical condition! On three separate instances I was found on the footpath in the suburb I live in, having a tonic-clonic seizure (which required the assistance of paramedics). I even had a seizure out running on the morning I was scheduled to travel to the U.S. I was advised by doctors at the emergency department about the risk of flying (I had hit my head when I fell) however, I was unwilling to defer my travel. I was determined to achieve what I had dedicated myself to many months ago.
Race day was typical of perfect conditions, and Chicago was abuzz with anticipation for the race. A marathon is obviously unlike any experience I had endured before. The first half was pleasant and enjoyable, however by the 36km mark I felt gelatinous with fatigue – regardless of having a medical condition! However, I finished the 42.2km race in the stunning Grant Park in 5 hours and 38 seconds exactly.
So here’s a quick message to say: don’t let seizures stop you! My first training run was a struggle of 5K, and now I’ve ran a marathon, and continue to run every day to clear the fog and all the other woes of life that may persist in the way.