ORRINGTON, Maine — A Brewer couple whose 9-year-old daughter has epilepsy has organized a Saturday event that aims to raise funds for the Epilepsy Foundation of New England and plant the seeds for an area family support network.
The Ride to End Childhood Epilepsy, which will run 8:30 a.m.-1: 30 p.m. at the Ralph J. Pollard Masonic Lodge at 730 River Road in Orrington, will feature a 120-mile loop motorcycle ride with stops in Belfast and China, said Marian Jerome, who is organizing the event along with her husband, Paul.
Registration for the motorcyclists begins at 8:30 a.m., and the riders will take off at 10 a.m.
There also will be other activities at the event, including a visit from the Anah Shrine clowns and carnival-style games for children beginning at 10 a.m.
Raffles will be conducted throughout the event, Jerome said.
Jerome said that she and her husband discovered that there was no support network in the Bangor area for families with children who have epilepsy until their daughter Brianna was diagnosed with the condition three years ago.
“It is our hope to bring such families together and create a support network,” she said about the event. “We have already had a few families get in touch with us because of the fundraiser that have children with epilepsy. At our fundraiser we will have a sign up for families to join.
“It is very difficult to watch your child struggle with epilepsy — the seizures, the medications, the side effects, all of it,” she said. “It’s also very difficult as a parent in the sense that you have nobody else to talk to who is also going through the same struggles,” she said.
“I remember my husband and I felt very alone on that level when our daughter was first diagnosed. This is the first time in three years of this journey that I have actually been able to sit down with another mom who has a child with epilepsy and talk about what we face and how we help our children face all that they do,” she said.