Man’s 55-hour run is meant to raise awareness for niece’s disease
PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - Running for awareness is what one Region 8 man was doing for nearly three days.
“It’s something we didn’t know about until we had to know about it,” Mallorye Wesley said.
She was referring to epilepsy, a common disease that affects one in 26 people at some point during their lifetime.
For Wesley's daughter Olivia, it was at age five.
"She still has seizures almost daily," Wesley said.
Since Olivia was diagnosed, her family has been brainstorming ways to raise awareness for her disease.
Then her uncle, Blake Bales, had an idea.
"He's a runner," Wesley said. "That's something that he could do just to say, 'hey I'm doing this to raise awareness,' just his personal touch on it."
Each detail of Bales' 55 hour trek around Southside Community Church's campus holds significance.
His 7 a.m. start is about the time of Olivia's first seizure exactly two years ago.
The 55 hours of running represents the length of time Olivia couldn't walk after having her first seizure.
And his Saturday, 2 p.m. finish is the anniversary of when Olivia was able to take her first steps again.
"November was epilepsy awareness month," Wesley said. "That's when we started making plans for this."
What they didn't plan for was the community's response.
"It's been actually overwhelming," Wesley said.
The family has received pledges, donations, and even had old friends stopping by to visit.
"We've had several people come by to bring Blake some snacks, hot chocolate, just to keep him going," Wesley said.
But his main motivator was still raising awareness.
Olivia is set to have surgery in a couple of months, so Wesley said half of the money raised will go toward Olivia's medical expenses.
The other half will be donated to Le Bonheur's Neuroscience Institute.
For more information on how to donate, click here.
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