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Denver Walk to End Epilepsy to raise money and awareness this weekend

Denver Walk to End Epilepsy to raise money and awareness this weekend
Denver Walk to End Epilepsy to raise money and awareness this weekend 03:01

One in 26. That's how many people live with epilepsy – so nearly 65,000 people in Colorado and Wyoming.

Epilepsy is a neurological condition that can be very debilitating, even deadly. For as common as it is, it's not as commonly researched or funded; something the Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado & Wyoming is working to change. One of its biggest events to raise awareness in the region is happening this weekend: the Denver Walk to End Epilepsy.

"It's a beautiful morning to be in City Park," said Rachel Peterson.

For the last eight years, Peterson has joined thousands of families in Denver in the annual 5K walk. It's a cause very close to her heart.

"My son has epilepsy," she told CBS Colorado's Kelly Werthmann. "When he was five months old he was diagnosed with epilepsy. He's 8 now."

Rachel Peterson CBS

Like many families with loved ones living with the brain disorder, every day can be quite challenging.

"His epilepsy journey has been really hard," Peterson said of her son Brooks. "It's been really difficult to control his seizures. We never know when they're going to happen."

And, Peterson said, it can often be isolating. It's all the more reason why the Walk to End Epilepsy is so important.

Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado & Wyoming

"The first year after his diagnosis we came to the walk and it was really the first time that I felt a sense of a community," she said.

Between meeting other people living with epilepsy, connecting with their families who understand the hardships and learning from physicians and researchers on hand, the Walk to End Epilepsy is just as much of a celebration as it is a crucial fundraiser.

"I think historically there's been a lot of stigma with epilepsy," said Peterson. "It's not very well understood, there hasn't been a ton of money for research. It's long been something people have tried to hide, that's why this event is so beautiful – no one is hiding anything."

CBS News Colorado anchor and reporter Kelly Werthman, right, smiles with her sister Abby. CBS

Peterson said she'd love to see even more families attend the Walk to End Epilepsy in Denver this year. It is free to register, all that's asked is for participants to consider making a donation to the Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado & Wyoming. All money raised goes to the foundation's awareness and education programs, seizure training and supportive care.

Denver Walk to End Epilepsy
Sunday, June 9, 9 a.m.
Denver City Park Pavilion

Link to register or donate:

CBS Colorado's Kelly Werthmann is taking part in the Walk to End Epilepsy, in honor of her sister Abby, who lives with epilepsy. To join or donate to her team, click here.

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