When the gun sounds to start the New York City Marathon this November, every step, every breath I take will have a purpose:
To bring awareness, understanding and hope for a cure for epilepsy, a condition that took me overnight from an exciting, fulfilling career as an airline pilot with a major corporation to a man in the prime of his life spiraling out of control in search of answers.
In the years since, I’ve learned to accept my condition and the cards life has dealt me; how to live with epilepsy, and, most important, how to focus my energies outwardly, instead of inwardly, so that I can help others who walk a parallel path, whether they be children or adults.
This is now my passion. And this is my story.
Ten years ago, epilepsy was the furthest thing from my mind. I was a successful pilot for Delta Air Lines, a devoted husband and father, and an enthusiastic runner. One day my world changed when I suffered two grand mal seizures after a nine-mile run. The diagnosis was a brain tumor, and the next few years were filled with tests, surgeries and an endless parade of medications.
I was lost. My life was in free-fall. I had become an epileptic overnight with no training or experience to draw from. I went from a person responsible for countless lives to not being able to be left alone with my one year old. My initial meds transformed me into a zombie struggling to help his third grader with homework, and it took years to get the meds right.
As I slogged down the long, uneven road of lifestyle readjustment, the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Cincinnati and Columbus was and remains an incredible resource of support every step of my journey.
Their mission – to educate people about epilepsy, to help them adjust to their new lives, to provide physical and emotional support to those with the condition and their families – is a story in search of an ending. And that ending is a cure.
The Foundation has helped my family so much that we have worked to give back through numerous advocacy and support programs, youth camps and speaking opportunities.
I’ve also found a way to merge my passion for an epilepsy cure with a program that allows me to do what I love to do – and that’s run. Athletes vs. Epilepsy is a nationwide program for athletes, coaches and fans that does a phenomenal job of raising awareness and embodying the message that people with epilepsy can live their lives to the fullest. Through this incredible organization, I was recently chosen to be one of eight Epilepsy Foundation representatives in the 2015 New York City Marathon.
Dealing with epilepsy is an ongoing battle. Despite medications, I still experience seizures, even while running, and have the bruises and scrapes to prove it. Fellow runners sometimes need to help me across the finish line. All that said, epilepsy may periodically slow me up, but it will never stop me.
Epilepsy can be conquered, and we come closer every day. With over 200,000 people diagnosed with epilepsy each year, I pray that you’ll join me in supporting those finding a cure for this life-changing condition. God bless.
Message From Scott
I am thrilled to be one of eight people in the nation chosen to represent the Epilepsy Foundation in the New York City Marathon, the largest race in the world. I invite you to join me in my support of the Foundation’s work in finding a cure with a donation in honor of my race participation. To make a tax-deductible donation, go to: https://www.crowdrise.com/scottbadzik
No amount is too small, and 100% goes directly to the Epilepsy Foundation. For more information on the Epilepsy Foundation, go to www.epilepsy.com.