Athletes vs. Epilepsy

Two Runners Going the Distance for Epilepsy

 flying pig

CONGRATULATIONS to both Brian Beckett and Scott Badzik on great finishes in the Flying Pig this past weekend!! The awareness you raised for epilepsy was awesome!! Thanks for going the distance and making a difference!

Brian Beckett and Scott Badzik, who both have epilepsy, joined the ranks of runners to not only run the full marathon, but to do a little more for people living with epilepsy. We asked each athlete to share a little bit of their story…..

Brain Beckett is a long distance runner, as well as a pastor, counselor, and family man. He has epilepsy and was initially diagnosed in 1977. Living all these years with a neurological disorder, he has a special appreciation for endurance. For both caregivers and patients, we are all called to endure, to bear the weight of the disease, to not give up or give in, but to move forward in life. Brian leads a running group at the church he founded 14 years ago, and often dedicates each run on behalf of someone in need of grace and strength. This past autumn, Brian decided he wanted to run his age in miles on his next birthday, which is May 7th. Since he was already planning on running the Flying Pig Marathon, his wife suggested he combine two runs. So on May 4th, he ran the Marathon (26.2 miles), then continued the run for another 28 miles. This run is dedicated to all those whose lives have been touched by epilepsy. “We do not run alone. We endure together.”

Another athlete that took the Skyline 4-Way Challenge this past weekend was Scott Badzik. He began his racing on Saturday, May 3rd as he lined up to run in the 5K race, then he took a short break before jumping in line for the start of the 10K run. After a good nights sleep, Scott lined up bright and early on Sunday morning for the full marathon. Crazy you may think? Scott has a few other thoughts as he shares his story…

I ran the 4Way the first weekend in May for the kids who attend Camp Flame Catcher. I want to inspire and encourage them to reach for their dreams.

In 2005, I completed my 2nd Flying Pig. Two months later, after finishing a training run, I collapsed with my first seizure. After being diagnosed with epilepsy, my career and most of my independence was taken away from me. Living with epilepsy made things I once took for granted become major challenges in my life. I spent the next few years experimenting with multiple medications to get back some of my old life, even having surgery to implant a device in my chest to control the seizures. Even today, my seizures are not completely controlled.

A few years ago my son (then age 11) inspired me to get back into running. Running seemed impossible at the time. People thought I was crazy for trying to get back into it. Why would a person with epilepsy want to start running? It was a very difficult journey as I would continue to have seizures while I ran. The seizures would sometimes leave me so blinded and disoriented that I would need my son’s assistance just to get back to our starting point. As an added challenge, the device implanted for my epilepsy also makes it difficult for me to breathe. Why would I continue to run? Running is the one thing that gives me freedom from epilepsy!

In 2012 we were able to complete the Toyota 10K. In 2013, I completed my 1st full Pig, including the 4-Way, since developing epilepsy. I figured I wanted to show that people with epilepsy could race, why not the biggest challenge The Pig had to offer?

The last few years of running have helped me realize that, with the support of my family and the Epilepsy Foundation, I can still accomplish some of the goals I once had. The Flying Pig Marathon is something I have come to really look forward to. Running the Skyline 4-Way is my way to say thank you and to show the children of Camp Flame Catcher that great things are still possible despite living with epilepsy.