CEDAR RAPIDS — Nearly 400 runners climbed Mount Trashmore in Cedar Rapids on Saturday in pursuit of the finish line at the third annual Dash to Bash Epilepsy race.
In doing so, they also took an important step in helping raise money and awareness in the fight against the chronic disorder that causes recurrent seizures and to support those waging a battle against the condition.
“Epilepsy came into my life and it hasn’t left. It’s totally changed our lives,” said Jennifer Stumpff, 31, whose son, Zayden was diagnosed two years ago at around 6 months old.
The Stumpffs were among the hundreds gathered Saturday who are affected by epilepsy.
Stumpff said it’s always overwhelming to see the number of people who turn out to support the cause.
“We can’t put into words how much it means to us,” she said. “With everything going on in the world, it’s nice to see the community come together for things like that.”
The Dash to Bash Epilepsy 5-kilometer race stepped off at 8 a.m. with about 380 runners from across Iowa participating, according to race organizers. The race began at the National Czech and Slovak Museum & Library, 1400 Inspiration Place SW, and wound through Czech Village before the 208-foot climb to the top of the former Linn County landfill, also known as Mount Trashmore.
Ian Hoover-Grinde, 18, of Cedar Rapids, finished the race in first place with a time of 19:15. The first female to cross the finish line was Mallory Dolter, 27, of Dubuque, at 23:45.
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Perhaps the more meaningful awards, however, went to two teams participating in the race. Team Adam, formed to support Adam Todd, 17, who is battling epilepsy, was honored for having the most participants — 68. A team dubbed “Peyton’s Platoon,” formed to support epilepsy patient Peyton Rentschaler of St. Olaf, was recognized as the top fundraising team. The team raised $8,000, the largest donation by far, according to Roxanne Cogil, director of Iowa Epilepsy Services for the Epilepsy Foundation of North/Central Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska.
Dale Todd, race director, past president of the Iowa Epilepsy Foundation and father to Adam, said epilepsy changes lives overnight — both the person afflicted by the neurological disorder and their loved ones. His son was diagnosed at age 3.
“It was a pretty dark period for me,” Dale Todd said.
On Saturday, he watched as his son raced with members of the Washington High School cross-country teams. Adam Todd has been for a couple of months, he said.
According to the Epilepsy Foundation, epilepsy affects about 3 million people in the United States, making it the fourth most common neurological disorder in the country.
Brienna Decker, communications coordinator with the Epilepsy Foundation-Iowa, which hosted Saturday’s race to support its programs, resources and outreach services, said the race is the Epilepsy Foundation’s only fundraising event in Cedar Rapids. All proceeds go “strictly to our Iowa effort to provide educational support and outreach to those who are impacted by epilepsy,” added Dale Todd.
But more than raising money, the event served as an opportunity for families affected by epilepsy to connect, organizers said.
“It’s amazing what families can learn from one another,” Decker said.
For more information on the Epilepsy Foundation and its programs and services, visit epilepsyiowa.org.