Simone Biles Prioritizes Her Mental Health By Withdrawing From Team USA’s Final Competition In The Tokyo Olympics

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Simone Biles at the olympic games posing with her arms in the air in front of a balance beam

By Marsha B., Yahoo! Lifestyle

Over the years, people with high profile occupations like athletes, musicians, and actors, have compromised their mental health at the expense of their craft. The idea that you have to power through filming a movie, performing at a concert, or competing in a game because people are depending on you, often causes you to compromise the time needed to rebuild your mental, physical and emotional stamina.

When Naomi Osaka first told the world that she wouldn’t participate in the 2021 French Open, she was met with both praise and mockery. We rarely hear of athletes prioritizing their mental health, but this generation has made it clear that no competition is worth compromising their mental and emotional well being.

Simone Biles is the latest athlete to throw in the towel and withdraw from the Tokyo Olympics. In a tweet from the USA Gymnastics, they gave Biles’ official statement.

“Simone Biles has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue. She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions.”

Although her official statement says she’s withdrawing for medical issues, others are saying it is more about preserving her emotional well-being. In another statement, Biles said that physically she feels well but emotionally things aren’t as steady.

“Physically, I feel good, I’m in shape. Emotionally, that kind of varies on the time and moment. Coming here to the Olympics and being the head star isn’t an easy feat, so we’re just trying to take it one day at a time and we’ll see.”

In another tweet, an NBC commentator reported that according to a Team USA coach, Biles’ exit was less about an injury and more about an internal struggle she’s having.

Click here to read the full article on Yahoo! Lifestyle.

California man scales Machu Picchu in off-roading wheelchair

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An off-roading wheelchair allowed Robert and Nelly Kapen to visit Machu Picchu with several family members.

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On an unseasonably cold December afternoon in Southern California, most Angelenos have retreated to their homes. But at Miramar Park, a narrow strip of green space overlooking Torrance County Beach, Robert Kapen and his wife Nelly are out for an adventure.

For Kapen — whom Nelly is pushing in a special, off-roading wheelchair — wintry weather is a relatively minor obstacle. During the first 23 years of his life, Kapen was a healthy, outdoorsy person. Then in 2011, he suffered a brain stem stroke that left him paralyzed.

Doctors told his family that he had a 1% chance of survival, and that if he lived, he’d likely be in a vegetative state. Kapen beat those odds. His mental faculties were unscathed, and he slowly regained some movement and speech through therapy. Eventually, he was able to communicate, eat, operate a motorized wheelchair and write a book. He had another big dream, too.

“Growing up, I fell in love with hiking, being outdoors and the beauty of nature,” he says. That was taken away from him for 10 years, Kapen says, but very recently, a new set of wheels has allowed for his return. It’s called the AdvenChair.

The orange, “all-terrain” wheelchair is human-powered and designed to help people with mobility challenges to venture into the wild. Its wheels, tires, brakes and handlebars are all premium mountain bike parts, and the large tires and suspension system offer a comfortable ride. Thanks to a versatile system of pulleys, bars and straps, teams of one to five people can assist in navigating the AdvenChair over just about any landscape.

The AdvenChair recently enabled Kapen to visit Machu Picchu. Over in Palm Springs, Floyd McGregor — who has an autoimmune disease of the muscles called myositis — is raising money for an AdvenChair pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago. Isaac Shannon, a Southern Californian with mitochondrial disease, has been using his AdvenChair for regular jaunts around Southern California.

“It’s rejuvenating to be outside, especially as a person with a disability, because these resources are not exactly the most accessible,” Shannon says in a video created for the Denver Channel. “So when there is a tool that allows a person to be able to experience life in the most average way possible, I think it’s healing, and it’s nice to be out in nature where you’re not around people.”

The man behind AdvenChair is Geoff Babb of Bend, Ore. He grew up backpacking, climbing and mountain biking, and worked as a fire ecologist for the Bureau of Land Management. At age 48, a blood clot in his brain caused a brain stem stroke, and just like Kapen, he nearly died. Babb lost the ability to walk and much of his strength, but he wasn’t going to let that stop him from visiting the outdoors.

Babb started looking around for a wheelchair that could help him navigate rugged terrain, and found a couple of options: the GRIT Freedom Chair and the Mountain Trike. The designs were good, he says, but they didn’t work for him.

“They all relied on the rider having enough upper body strength to push the levers,” Babb says. “But myself and a lot of people, we don’t have the body strength.” So Babb decided to invent his own.

Click here to read the full article on SFGate.

Fitness Trainer Karena Dawn Launches Mental Health Organization in Honor of Her Late Mother

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Fitness Trainer Karena Dawn smiling at the camera in a green silk button up shirt

By Stephanie Emma Pfeffer, People

Karena Dawn doesn’t shy away from hard conversations.

The co-founder of Tone It Up is launching a new charitable organization, The Big Silence, to normalize discussions about mental health issues.

“I’ve been wanting to create a foundation and a resource for many years,” says Dawn, who was just 12 years old when her mom was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and depression.

“[My mom] was in and out of the house many times, from being a missing person to being in the hospital,” Dawn tells PEOPLE exclusively. “And it was in the ’90s, so no one was talking about mental health.”

As a teenager, Dawn tried to research mental illness and schizophrenia at the library. “There were no resources out there for me to lean on,” she recalls. “It kind of sent me in a spiral of my own situational depression, drug abuse, suicide attempt and losing a lot of friends because no one around me was talking about it.”

That’s why she believes so strongly in offering support for those who are struggling. “There’s a stigma around mental health,” says the NYT bestselling author. “That is what The Big Silence is: It’s the thing you don’t want to talk about. At The Big Silence, we are here to break the silence.”

The content platform, which she leads with her sister Rachel Sahaidachny as executive director, is dedicated to normalizing conversations around mental health through online and social content, as well as a podcast hosted by Dawn.

“Because of my mom’s mental illness, I went through a really dark period — from about 12 years old until about 22,” she says. “I was at a breaking point.”

She found light again by focusing on fitness. “I was on a three-day bender and was thinking back about when I was my happiest,” she says. “It was when I was running, and I was active and I was working out.”

“At that time I thought, in my own depression, that I was going to end up like my mom, so I didn’t believe in myself.” But she decided to do something positive and signed up for a triathalon. “I trained my butt off and did the race,” she says. “I crossed the finish line, like ‘Wow, like I accomplished something.’ ”

From then on, she says, she wanted to teach people that movement is medicine, which led to her co-founding Tone It Up in 2009 and further dedicating herself to not only her physical health but her mental health as well, through self-help books, therapy and meditation.

Click here to read the full article on People.

A study links facing discrimination at a young age with future mental health issues

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According to the UCLA researchers, people who faced any discrimination had a 26% greater risk of poor health than those who said they hadn't faced any.

By , NPR

A new study suggests that people who face discrimination at a young age are more likely to develop behavioral and mental health problems later in life.

And the risks may be cumulative; those who faced more incidents of discrimination had an even higher risk of future problems, researchers found.

The UCLA study, published in the journal Pediatrics on Sunday, looked at health data for 1,834 Americans who were between the ages of 18 and 28 when the study started. The authors said it was the first time researchers had probed the effects of discrimination on the same group of young people during their transition to adulthood.

“With 75% of all lifetime mental health disorders presenting by age 24, the transition to adulthood is a crucial time to prevent mental and behavioral health problems,” Yvonne Lei, a medical student at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the study’s corresponding author, said in a press release.

The data came from the University of Michigan’s Transition to Adulthood Supplement of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics survey, in which 93% of respondents reported experiencing discrimination. It included discrimination based on age, physical appearance, sex, race and other factors.

According to the UCLA researchers, people who faced any discrimination had a 26% greater risk of poor health than those who said they hadn’t faced any.

And young people who faced frequent discrimination, which was defined as at least a few times per month, saw a roughly 25% jump in their likelihood of being diagnosed with a mental illness over those who had faced little or no discrimination. They were also twice as likely to develop severe psychological stress.

The study also suggested a connection between the effects of discrimination on young people and the disparate levels of care they receive in the health care system.

Click here to read the full article on NPR.

The U.S. surgeon general issues a stark warning about the state of youth mental health

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U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy

By , NPR

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has a warning about the mental health of young people.

Murthy told Morning Edition that children and young adults were already facing a mental health crisis before the coronavirus pandemic began: One in three high school students reported persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, a 40% increase from 2009 to 2019, he said. Suicide rates went up during that time by 57% among youth ages 10 to 24. During the pandemic, rates of anxiety and depression have increased, he said.

The pandemic has made the issues behind the mental health crisis only worse, he said.

“This is a critical issue that we have to do something about now,” he said. “We can’t wait until after the pandemic is over.”

Murthy, who issued an advisory called “Protecting Youth Mental Health,” also cites gun violence, the specter of climate change, racism and social conflict as sources of stress.

“We also have to recognize that kids increasingly are experiencing bullying, not just in school but online, that they’re growing up in a popular culture and a media culture that reminds kids often that they aren’t good-looking enough, thin enough, popular enough, rich enough, frankly, just not enough,” he said.

“Even to this day, even though I have parents who I know unconditionally loved me, I never felt comfortable telling them about it because I thought that this was my fault. I don’t want that to be the reality for my children, who are 4 and 5 and growing up, you know, in this very complicated world.”

Listen to the conversation or read on to learn about Murthy’s own struggles with loneliness and anxiety as a child. The interview has been lightly edited.

On how technology companies need to design platforms that strengthen youth mental health:

They’ve got to be transparent with data on the harms and benefits so that we can understand which children, in particular, are most at risk. But most importantly, we need them in the long term and short term to design platforms that strengthen youth mental health. The current business model of most platforms is built on how they maximize time spent — not time well spent, but time spent. And we need these platforms to be designed to strengthen the mental health of our kids to make them better. And right now, we’re conducting this national experiment on our kids with social media. And it’s worrisome to me as a parent.

On the importance of combating stigma:

As much as technology has an important role here, what we are calling for in this advisory are much broader changes as well. We’re asking for individuals to take action to change how we think and talk about mental health so people with mental health struggles know that they have nothing to be ashamed of and it’s OK to ask for help. That stigma is so powerful still around mental health, something I experienced as a young person who struggled with mental health. I didn’t know that I could ask for help and I was ashamed. But we’re also calling for expanded access to mental health care, for increases in mental health counselors in schools and investments in social-emotional learning curricula in schools, as well as, finally, for people to invest in relationships in their life.

Click here to read the full article on NPR.

SPAN Program provides specialized health care for adults with special needs

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two adults with special needs laughing together

By

Regardless of age or health history, taking care of yourself and forming strong healthy habits is one of the most important things you can do. Achieving wellness looks different for all of us, but may be especially challenging for those with disabilities or special needs. Thankfully, some medical professionals have the expertise and compassion to help adults in this situation.

Dually certified in pediatrics and internal medicine, Laura Gaffney, MD, has dedicated her career to caring for adults with special needs. She started the Special Pediatric-to-Adult Need program, or SPAN, at AdventHealth Medical Group Primary Care at Shawnee Mission. The SPAN program is the only primary care program in the Kansas City area for adults with special needs including Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy and genetic disorders. It was Dr. Gaffney’s relationship with her mother and grandmother that prompted her to establish the SPAN program.

“My mom had multiple sclerosis and was in a wheelchair,” said Dr. Gaffney. “I felt like she did not get the care she deserved. People would often treat her as if she had impaired intellectual ability, yet she was a pharmacist. Also, my grandmother was a librarian for children with special needs.”

As the medical director of SPAN, Dr. Gaffney has built a team that provides comprehensive, patient-focused care for adults with a chronic condition that persists from childhood to adulthood. The SPAN program offers these patients a consistent and reliable medical home with same-day appointments.

“There are few primary care clinics in the United States for adults with a variety of overlapping needs,” said Dr. Gaffney. “We work to ensure our clinic meets the needs of this unique group.”

Dr. Gaffney and her team will see a patient’s family members and caregivers, which provides an integrated approach to care and a better understanding of the social and emotional needs of the patient. They also have social workers on hand and provide diabetes education. In addition, the clinic features an exam bed that lowers to 14 inches allowing easy transfers and the ability to weigh a patient up to 450 pounds.

“These are ways we are providing whole-person care to adults with special needs,” said Dr. Gaffney. “We have also identified dentists, physical therapists and other specialists who are interested in caring for people with special needs and doing it with respect.”

Dr. Gaffney describes herself as a curious and empathic person. These traits coupled with her background as an internal medicine and pediatric physician give her a unique perspective allowing her to provide excellent medical care for patients with special needs.

“I have been trained to understand genetic, developmental and intellectual issues and how those change as people age,” said Dr. Gaffney. “People with genetic diseases, neurologic diversity and cerebral palsy are living longer lives and there are few physicians that are willing and educationally able to care for this group.”

Click here to read the full article on Shawnee Mission Post.

Selena Gomez launches new media platform with a focus on mental health

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Selena Gomez smiling at the camera at a red carpet event

By Megan Marples, CNN

Talking about mental health is good for you, according to pop star, actor, and producer Selena Gomez, and she’s determined to be the catalyst for positive change.

The “Ice Cream” singer announced the launch of her latest venture, Wondermind, a mental health platform focused on connecting people with educational resources and ending the stigma around mental illnesses.

She teamed up with her mother, Mandy Teefey, and The Newsette founder and CEO Daniella Pierson to create the media company, which is set to launch in February 2022.

Gomez hasn’t been shy when it comes to discussing her mental health publicly. She previously wrote for CNN about how she’s a “big advocate for social media detoxes” and therapy.

And she announced on Miley Cyrus’ Instagram show “Bright Minded” in April that she has bipolar disorder.

“I went to one of the best mental hospitals in America, McLean Hospital, and I discussed that after years of going through a lot of different things, I realized that I was bipolar,” Gomez said. “And so when I got to know more information, it actually helps me. It doesn’t scare me once I know it.”

Her mother revealed being misdiagnosed for over 20 years with bipolar disorder that later turned out to be attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, with trauma, according to the Wondermind website’s welcome video.

Pierson opened up in the video as well, saying she has dealt with obsessive-compulsive disorder since she was a child.

The three said they struggled to find a safe space online where they could engage with uplifting content about mental health on a daily basis. Enter Wondermind.

Click here to read the full article on CNN.

Boris Kodjoe on prioritizing his ‘spiritual, mental and physical health’: ‘I take time every single day to just be with myself’

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Boris Kodjoe sitting and smiling for the camera

By Erin Donnelly and Stacy Jackman, Yahoo! Life

The Unwind is Yahoo Life’s well-being series in which experts, influencers and celebrities share their approaches to wellness and mental health, from self-care rituals to setting healthy boundaries to the mantras that keep them afloat.

On-screen, Boris Kodjoe is saving lives as a firefighter on the ABC action-drama Station 19. Off-screen, he’s hoping to do the same by amplifying a new Men’s Health Awareness Month campaign highlighting the risks of prostate cancer, particularly for Black men like him, who are 75 percent more likely to be diagnosed with the disease and twice as likely to die from it.

In a video interview with Yahoo Life, the Austrian-born actor stresses the importance of looking after one’s physical and mental health. In terms of the former, he’s partnering with Depend and the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) for the return of the Stand Strong for Men’s Health initiative to destigmatize male incontinence and offer support to those being treated for prostate cancer; Depend will donate up to $350,000 to the cause.

Kodjoe calls the cause a “very personal” one, as he saw a close friend and mentor undergo his own battle with prostate cancer.

“It reminded me that I needed to take care of myself,” he says. “And the first step to do that is to talk about health issues, to talk about everything that concerns us — spiritual, mental and physical health — to be vulnerable, to be open and not to consider it as a weakness to talk about these things. And as Black men, we are facing a lot of things every single day. There’s a lot of weight on our shoulders, but in order to take care of others, we’ve got to take care of ourselves first.”

The Soul Food actor hopes the initiative and breakthrough in cancer research will help draw attention and find solutions to the racial disparities present in access to quality health care. He also wants to spark conversations about other pressing health issues within the Black community, including obesity and the mental strain brought upon by the pandemic and social justice unrest.

Now 48 and a father of two — he and his actress wife Nicole Ari Parker share a daughter and son — Kodjoe is prioritizing his own health needs as he gets older.

“I’m getting to an age now where I’m the guy now holding the phone six feet away from my face so I can read what’s on the screen,” he jokes. “It’s undeniable that we’re all getting older and so we need just those constants… I’m the first one to admit that I didn’t do a great job always taking care of myself. I have a family and they depend on me, so I need to do that.”

That includes looking after his mental headspace, too.

“I practice what I preach and I take time every single day to just be with myself, whether it’s my morning prayer, meditation or laying down and stretching in my trailer when I have five or 10 minutes between shots,” he says. “There’s stuff that you can do that’s pretty simple to include in your daily routine that you could turn into a habit. And it’s important because we have so many habits that are detrimental to our health. We need to balance that out with habits that are actually good for ourselves — whether it’s mental health, spiritual health or our physical health — that will ensure that we’re here for a longer time.”

The Real Husbands of Hollywood star — who will soon make his directorial debut with the Lifetime movie Safe Space, in which he stars opposite his wife — says that his work can also be “therapeutic.”

“It’s a creative outlet,” he says. “It’s a way for me to represent who I am, to represent us [the Black community] in the most multi-dimensional way possible. Historically we’ve been sort of portrayed in one-dimensional ways. And I think that every role we take on, we try to make sure that you represent our culture in a way that shows how multi-dimensional we are. It’s an outlet that I’m really grateful to have.”

While that work is rewarding, Kodjoe is careful to maintain what he calls a “work-life list of priorities,” with his family at the top.

Click here to read the full article on Yahoo! Life.

Local Teen Clings To Hope Almost A Decade After Epilepsy Diagnosis

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Local Teen Clings To Hope Almost A Decade After Epilepsy Diagnosis

By Derrick Stuckly, Brown Wood News

The month of November is known as a time when we gather around the table with our friends and family to celebrate what we are thankful for. But for more than 3.4 million Americans the month of November means so much more. November is Epilepsy Awareness Month.

According to the National Epilepsy foundation 1 in 10 people will have a seizure and 1 in 26 will develop epilepsy during their lifetime.

Ellie Mclver, a 16 year old junior at Santa Anna High school, is 1 in 26.

For most teenagers their list of worries usually involves what they’re going to wear to winter formal, acne, sports, and narrowing down what college they will apply to. But for teenagers like Santa Anna junior Ellie, her list looks a little different. I had the opportunity to get to know Ellie and her mom Brandi as they both courageously shared with me what Ellie’s life has looked like since she was diagnosed with Epilepsy at the tender age of 8.

Ellie was in class her 3rd grade year when she had her first seizure. Tests performed after that seizure led to an epilepsy diagnosis. The epilepsy diagnosis was hard enough for the family but the news only got worse as they would later be told by doctors that Ellie’s seizures were considered irretractable. Ellie explained to me that this means medicine does not work to control her seizures.

Not even a year after her diagnosis Ellie went in for her first major brain surgery. This was a terrifying time for the entire Mclver family. They weren’t even sure this surgery was going to help but with medicine out of the question, this was their only option to try to stop the seizures.

After surgery Ellie’s family walked around cautiously but eventually a week passed, then a month, and before they knew it Ellie had been seizure free for 4 years.

Time went on and as most families do Ellie’s family gathered around the table for Thanksgiving in 2018 when family members noticed Ellie was “zoned out.” For any other teen this is a pretty normal occurrence but for Ellie this indicated a seizure. After 4 years Ellie was experiencing a focal seizure which meant she was no longer seizure free. Her seizures progressively got worse after this occurance. In September of 2019 Ellie’s family had a hard time pulling her out of a seizure and they had to call an ambulance. Once again Ellie had no choice but to undergo another brain surgery. This time the surgery was unsuccessful, she was still having seizures.

Ellie is 16 now and she knows she is facing more complex brain surgeries in hopes that one day she will be completely seizure free. Ellie is not fearful for what is ahead; she is ready to head into battle to do what she needs to do so she can have more freedom. With that, I asked her if there are things are she’s had to overcome because of epilepsy that other teens her age haven’t had to deal with. She said, “The hardest thing is that I can’t get my drivers license!” She also went on to say, “I miss a lot of school because after a seizure it can take a few hours or even days to recover so I feel like I’m always playing catch up.” I was amazed to learn that even though she is forced to play catch up Ellie’s resilience and urge to be great outweighs the task of that catch up. She told me she is the president of their FFA chapter, she plays clarinet in the high school band, and she takes dual credit classes. She did have to give up playing high school sports because the stress was more than her brain would physically allow her to handle.

Although Ellie has had to give some things up and she has a lot to manage and figure out, she still expressed little concern for herself and more concern for her friends. She shared with me that her friends have never seen her have a seizure and she hopes they never do. She said, “but they do see a lot of side effects from my medication. My medications can be hard to regulate so sometimes I seem “high”, and I have tons of “brain fog.” She said her teachers and friends are great at knowing when she isn’t doing okay, and they do all they can to help support her.

Ellie’s mom Brandi confirmed this by saying, “Ellie has a huge support group and so many people praying for her every day. She gets notes from people in our church, other churches, and several cards a month from a sweet group of ladies that don’t even live in our town.” Brandi went on to say that Ellie calls these things her ‘fan mail” and the encouragement makes a huge difference on this journey.

I asked Brandi what it has been like to watch her daughter battle epilepsy for more than half of her life and I was so inspired by her when she said, ‘Ellie has handled every obstacle in her path with grace and although it has been heart wrenching to watch her go through all that she has, Ellie has never lost faith, so how could I?”

Ellie continued to share her faith and confidence in God when she said “When things get tough, I cling to the verse 2 Timothy 1:7, which reads, “God hasn’t given us the spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind.”

It is without a doubt that even at such a young age with such a tough diagnosis Ellie has power, love, and a sound mind about her. People who don’t know Ellie would never know that she currently takes 3 medications that must be administered on a strict schedule, they don’t know how often her family must make the drive to Fort Worth to be seen and monitored by her neurosurgeon, and they don’t know that sometimes she suffers in pain and in a fog. Her radiant smile would surely tell you otherwise.

Click here to read the full article on Brown Wood News.

Epilepsy Foundation Rolls Out #RemoveTheFilter Social Media Campaign for National Epilepsy Awareness Month

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Epilepsy Foundation Rolls Out #RemoveTheFilter Social Media Campaign for National Epilepsy Awareness Month

By PR News Wire

Today marks the start of National Epilepsy Awareness Month (NEAM) and the Epilepsy Foundation is leveraging its community’s strength to reduce the fear surrounding epilepsy and bring hope to those facing challenges.

Through a social media campaign called #RemoveTheFilter, the Epilepsy Foundation is asking everyone to “remove the filter” by empowering them to take action and make a difference for those affected by epilepsy.

“For many, epilepsy and seizures are not something that is openly discussed because they fear discrimination, bullying or simply because they don’t know how to explain it to others,” said Laura Thrall, president and CEO, Epilepsy Foundation. “The focus of this campaign is to break the silence surrounding epilepsy and bring awareness so that people with epilepsy feel safer in their communities.”

One in 10 people will have a seizure and 1 in 26 will develop epilepsy during their lifetime. Through a series of stories, #RemoveTheFilter encourages people affected by epilepsy to leverage the power of their eJourney to decrease fear, encourage conversations and inspire action. Those featured in the stories highlight the challenges of epilepsy, how they overcame barriers, and why they removed the filter.

As part of the campaign, the Epilepsy Foundation is encouraging everyone to get Seizure First Aid Ready to save a life. The Foundation, in partnership with SK Life Science Inc, recently introduced a 30-minute on-demand course for people to learn the basics of seizure first aid. The course is available online free of charge on the Foundation’s Epilepsy Learning Portal.

Other ways people can #RemoveTheFilter during November:

  • Share their epilepsy journey
  • Become an Epilepsy Awareness Ambassador
  • Participate in the Walk to END EPILEPSY®
  • Join Others in Fundraise Your Way

For more NEAM 2021 activities, please visit epilepsy.com/NEAM.

Click here to read the full article on PR News Wire.

Marine Corps veteran, amputee makes history at Boston Marathon

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A Marine Corps veteran and amputee, Keating started his run just after the professional runners and before the next pack of fast competitors.

By KSBY

When Peter Keating took off from the starting line at the Boston Marathon, it was the realization of a dream come true. But he never imagined just how unique his 26.2-mile trek would be.

He was among more than 15,000 runners who raced on Monday after the pandemic forced the event to move from April to October.

A Marine Corps veteran and amputee, Keating started his run just after the professional runners and before the next pack of fast competitors.

“I had six miles all to myself,” he said. “I would look forward, I would look backward, and there was no one but me on the road. It was like the race was meant for me.”

For the first time in the race’s 125-year history, the Boston Athletic Association included a division for para-athletes.

Keating, 31, ran an impressive time of 3:25:02, earning him third place in the division. He was awarded an engraved glass cup, a $500 check, and the Boston Marathon medal coveted by runners.

While the prize money is nice, the pride Keating feels is more important.

“Just to be recognized as an adaptive athlete who can never run as fast as a normal person, so to speak, still to be recognized for their efforts in their own division,” he said.

In 2017, Keating, stationed at Camp Pendleton in California, stopped to help another Marine involved in a car crash. Moments later, Keating would become a victim.

“That’s when another car came on and hit us straight on,” Keating said.

Keating suffered a severe injury to his left leg. After struggling with foot function for a year, he decided to amputate his leg below the knee in 2018.

Over the past three years, he has documented his inspiring progress through videos and his Instagram page.

One video shows him taking his first steps on his prosthetic leg. Others capture Keating brought to tears after finishing runs on his running blade.

“Today was a victory,” he said in one of those videos.

Keating wears a sweat sock and liner underneath his 10-pound running blade. To keep the socket from becoming too wet and loose, he changed the sweat sock three times during the Boston Marathon.

He estimates the changes cost him about seven minutes on his race time.

He said that’s an example of a struggle he faces as a para-athlete and points out that he’s not one to focus on a negative.

“I can run, and I can run just like anybody else,” he said.

Keating said his Boston accomplishment is also meaningful because of the bombings near the finish line during the 2013 race. The blasts killed three people, and 17 others lost limbs.

“It means even more to us because many lives were changed that day,” he said.

Keating said one of his next goals is to push for a para-athlete division for the marathon in the Olympics. If that happens, Keating believes he could earn a spot on the U.S. team.

Click here to read the full article on KSBY.

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Upcoming Events

  1. From Day One
    January 18, 2022
  2. City Career Fair
    January 19, 2022 - November 4, 2022
  3. From Day One
    February 9, 2022
  4. The Small Business Expo–Multiple Event Dates
    February 17, 2022 - December 1, 2022
  5. From Day One
    February 22, 2022

Upcoming Events

  1. From Day One
    January 18, 2022
  2. City Career Fair
    January 19, 2022 - November 4, 2022
  3. From Day One
    February 9, 2022
  4. The Small Business Expo–Multiple Event Dates
    February 17, 2022 - December 1, 2022
  5. From Day One
    February 22, 2022