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Lighting the night purple

By March 30, 2022No Comments
For Tina and Shawn Hurley (centre), the show of support at Saturday’s Epilepsy Awareness Walk, in honour of the memory of their daughter Shauna, had them beaming with pride. Taylor Weaver Meridian Source

 

Whether you’re walking, riding a bike, or volunteering, the support goes a long way. 

It was a sea of purple last Saturday night at Bud Miller All Seasons Park as Lloydminster and area residents took part in the second annual Epilepsy awareness walk.

The walk, which was scheduled in conjunction with national Epilepsy Awareness Day, not only shed some light on the deadly brain disorder but also honoured the memory of Shauna Hurley, who passed away on Oct. 27, 2020, at the age of 23.

“My daughter was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 12,” said Shauna’s mom, Tina. 

“She lived a normal life straight through, but on Oct. 27, 2020, she passed away in Saskatoon from what is called SUDEP (sudden, unexpected death of someone with epilepsy).

Only one in 1,000 people pass away from SUDEP.

“We didn’t expect it. She lived a normal life,” said Tina, adding the fact her late daughter was a competitive figure skater.

“She had this disability for quite some time but kept it pretty quiet because she didn’t want to be labelled as someone with a disability.”

A year after Shauna’s passing, Tina, with the help of her husband, Shawn, decided to do a Shauna Hurley memorial walk at Bud Miller. 

Although it was only supposed to be friends and family, Tina explained roughly 80 people showed up at the park to show their support.

“I also did some research and wanted to know how I could get more involved,” she said. 

“This year I wanted to do more of an awareness walk, so I contacted the Edmonton Epilepsy Association, as well as Calgary, and they were able to answer the questions I had about hosting an awareness walk.

“Last year was more of a memorial for her, and with the walk this year, we are also trying to start a Lloydminster Epilepsy Association, which would cover Lloydminster and surrounding area.”

Of course, losing a child is never easy, but like many others who have felt that pain, Tina and the rest of her family are doing what they can so other families don’t have to live through it.

“Since I started this journey I have had so many people come up to me and tell me about a family member of theirs who has been diagnosed with epilepsy,” she said.

“It’s unbelievable how common a disease it is, and it’s one that has been swept under the rug for too long. People need to be aware that this is real and this can happen,” she added. 

“We never knew. As parents, having a child with a disability was devastating, and now, we need to carry her legacy on and help other families out, so this is what we do.”

Hurley explained how everybody can have one seizure, but if one person has two seizures, they’re diagnosed with epilepsy.

“There’s help out there for epilepsy, and it’s not just in the form of medication,” she said. “There’s support right across the country, which is very important because an epilepsy diagnosis can also sometimes lead to depression.

“There are so many different branches for support, and we want people to know they are not alone.”

Despite the brain disorder and the struggles that can come with it, Shauna never let her disorder define her, and Tina and Shawn encourage others to do the same.

“My husband Shawn and I didn’t let her condition take control of her life,” said Tina. 

“We let her live and do the things she wanted. She was a veterinary assistant but also wanted to be a dental assistant.

With two successful walks in the books, the future of epilepsy awareness in the Border City looks bright, and purple.