For the past three years, Julia Rennquist and her family have participated in the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota’s Rise Above Seizures Walk. The walk provides families with a sense of hope in their personal fights against epilepsy. It is a time to come together – to celebrate the small victories and do something meaningful for the epilepsy community by raising dollars for education and support.
Epilepsy has been a part of Misty and JP Rennquist’s lives for the past three years. Their daughter, Julia, first developed seizures when she was two years old. After a week in the hospital and further testing, Misty and JP learned that Julia has a seizure disorder caused by a gene (DEPDC5) mutation which presents in focal, simple partial, and complex partial seizures.
Worried by their daughter’s new diagnosis and with numerous questions, Misty and JP turned to EFMN and quickly connected with Duluth’s Regional Coordinator, Lisa Peterson. Lisa visited the Rennquist family in the hospital and was an ally in Julia’s journey with epilepsy. EFMN gave them a spark of hope when dealing with the new behaviors, reactions, confusion, and fear of their daughter’s diagnosis.
Through EFMN, the Rennquist family has found connections with other families experiencing similar situations. In addition, Misty and JP became more familiar with epilepsy through EFMN’s resources and education programs. EFMN gives them an outlet to make a difference – especially through the Rise Above Seizures Walk. When asked what advice she would give new Team Captains, Misty advised that they give their friends and families an opportunity to participate. “If they feel that they are part of a team and that your cause is important, they will be happy to donate and to raise money along with you.”
For families that are struggling with their child’s new diagnosis, Misty provides a reminder of hope: “Reach out to others. You are not alone. There are many people who know what you are going through and understand. Also, educate yourself! Absolutely connect with EFMN. They helped us with resources and education, and still continue to do so.”