Epilepsy bike-a-thon benefit set for today

Bicyclists of all ages are invited to participate in the Biking with Epilepsy bike-a-thon with Izzi Robbins from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. today in Chisholm.

Robbins, 8, of Chisholm, is organizing the event with the help of her mother, Melissa. The duo aim to raise money for the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota and promote safe biking.

Epilepsy is a medical condition that produces seizures affecting a variety of mental and physical functions. It’s also called a seizure disorder. When a person has two or more unprovoked seizures, they are considered to have epilepsy, according to the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota’s website, www.epilpesyfoundationmn.org.

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As stated on the website, a seizure happens when a brief, strong surge of electrical activity affects part or all of the brain. One in 10 people will have a seizure in their lifetime, and 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy.

Izzi was diagnosed with Epilepsy a little more than two months ago. Melissa said Izzi was rushed to the hospital when she experienced a grand mal seizure, known as a “tonic-clonic” seizure, that lasted more than three minutes. She said it’s one of the worst and most dangerous types of seizures.

For two years prior, Izzi had been experiencing petit mal seizures, which Melissa referred to as “brain freezes.” The petit mal seizures would cause Izzi to become silent, withdrawn, confused and, at times, leaving her unable to recite the alphabet or spell her name.

Izzi was scared when she experienced the seizures, and didn’t tell her parents, teachers or even friends.

Melissa said since being diagnosed with epilepsy in April, Izzi has been restricted to ground play and isn’t supposed to climb on playground equipment in case of a seizure. She also noted that swimming would be the most dangerous activity for someone with this diagnosis.

Given that Izzi’s all-time favorite activity is bicycling, Melissa has allowed her to do some riding. For her safety, Izzi must be accompanied while on her bike and always wears her helmet, she noted.

Registration for the bike-a-thon will begin at 9 a.m. at Kiwanis Park at the corner of Lake Street and Central Avenue North in Chisholm. A $2 per child or $5 per family donation is welcomed, but not mandatory for participation.

When planning the bike-a-thon route, Melissa said it was intentionally kept short and made kid friendly. From the Kiwanis Park, riders will head up the west side of the north loop of walking trail to the finish at the park near the tennis courts at the north end of the lake.

Local companies have donated water, which will be available to participants free of charge.

Lunch will be available at the park, and will consist of hot dogs, pop and chips for $4 per person.

Izzi and Melissa have created T-shirts, lanyards and key fobs with messages about Epilepsy awareness available to purchase at the bike-a-thon. Proceeds from the sale of these items will also benefit the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota.

Volunteers are needed on the day of the bike-a-thon for a variety of tasks, including registration, water distribution along the route, assisting in the park, lunch and cleanup.

More information is available by calling (218) 254-2210 or on the Biking with Epilepsy Facebook event.

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What: Biking with Epilepsy bike-a-thon

Where: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. today

Registration: Kiwanis Park at Lake Street and Central Avenue in Chisholm

Cost: $2 per child, $5 per family donation. All riders welcome.

Proceeds: Benefit the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota

Lunch: Is available for $4 donation per person

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