Sunday, January 17, 2010

Epilepsy Gala

So I guess this is blog 3 devoted to Epilepsy... this one is a bit more joyful.

Last night was the Utah Epilepsy Gala, put on by the Epilepsy Foundation, a black tie event. My Dad is a very notable person in the world of Epilepsy research, especially in Utah ... so my parents got all dressed up last night and made an appearance at this black tie affair.

For those that know my parents, it is probably quite difficult to picture them in tuxedos and ball gowns. My parents are both very casual people that live their lives in t-shirts and jeans. I was quite excited to see my parents all dressed up and have spent this last week helping my mom prepare for the event. (We went ball gown shopping... and even though I wasn't going, I made sure to try on a dress too, because who can resist trying on a ball gown?)

My parents were so cute the morning of the event. They spent it practicing their black tie etiquette over a very casual breakfast and googling all the black tie faux pas. One of the most classic moments goes like this...
Dad reading from a website: "Black tie means one thing - tuxedo."
Mom: "oops!"
Dad: "and floor length gowns..."
Mom: "oops again!"

Ok, but on to the important stuff. The Gala had several key speakers including Susan Axelrod (wife of David Axelrod - Obama's right hand man- whose daughter has a very severe case of epilepsy), Orrin Hatch (our Utah senator who has worked to get the Americans with Disabilities Act passed), and one of the Osmond brothers... My parents shared some interesting facts with me... Did you know that in the United States it was illegal for someone to marry someone with Epilepsy? And worst of all, that the last state to end this law only ended it in 1980? That's right... only 6 years before I was born was it legal in the entire USA to marry someone with Epilepsy! Crazy, no? Also, in our world today, more people die each year of Epilepsy than they do from breast cancer! Many don't think about Epilepsy being a terminal disease, but it most definitely is! And think of all that pink you see out there in the world! There are so many breast cancer awareness t-shirts, ribbons, events... which is totally awesome, but how often do you see a ribbon for Epilepsy awareness??? There are so many misconceptions about the disease, it is unbelievable! When I was a sophomore in high school, I sold crocheted hats at Colorado State University and donated all the proceeds to the Epilepsy Foundation. I went to school with some pretty intelligent kids (shout out to the IB nerds that I love sooooo much)... yet as SOPHOMORES IN HIGH SCHOOL many people didn't know what epilepsy was or had even heard of it! Crazy!

Anyway, I'm glad my parents were able to attend. My dad is a great scientist who I look up to and admire every day and my mom is now living with Epilepsy and handling it better than I ever could (she saw a lot of her doctors at the event last night) Go Mom and Dad!

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