The 2011 Harrison High School graduate is participating in the annual marathon with family and friends to raise money for the Epilepsy Therapy Project, a nonprofit that works to increase therapy funding. Now a Kennesaw State University sophomore, Locke said her new medication has greatly improved her condition, which used to cause her to miss school.
“It was really hard in high school to deal with,” said Locke, 19. “Going to school, I didn’t feel good a lot. But now that I’ve found a medicine that really works I’ve been doing really well. I think it’s made it easier for me to do this marathon because I know I want to help people who have epilepsy.”
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder in which a person has repeated seizures over time.
According to the Epilepsy Foundation, someone who has experienced two or more unprovoked seizures is considered to have epilepsy. One in 10 adults will have a seizure, which can last from a few seconds to a few minutes.
Locke was a cross country runner at Harrison High School when she was diagnosed with epilepsy. She did not run during her senior year because of an increase in seizures and side effects from medication, said her mother, Sharon Locke.
“I would have seizures every four to six weeks,” Mary said. But after starting on the new medication eight months ago, Mary said she wants to help others find the treatment that works for them.
Steve Locke, a retired Marine Corps officer, said he has always encouraged his daughter to remain physically active. The 37th Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 28 will be his second time participating and Mary’s first marathon. With 30,000 participants, it’s considered one of the nation’s largest marathons.
“I saw her struggle daily with this,” said Steve, a marathon runner and triathlete. “I’ve always thought exercising would help her in a lot of ways to get through her day-to-day struggles. When I saw this race, I thought it was a good cause.”
Along with her father, Mary will be running the marathon with family friends Tim and Jamie Brock of Michigan and former Harrison cross county runner Chase Pettingill, who now attends Georgia Southern University.
From 8 to 9 a.m. Sept. 22, the “Something About Mary” team will host a flapjack breakfast fundraiser at Applebee’s, 2404 Dallas Highway, Marietta. Tickets are $7 each and available on the Something About Mary team Facebook page: www.facebook.com/SomethingAboutMaryEpilepsyMarathonTeam.
The Something About Mary team’s goal is to raise $5,000 and have so far raised $2,000. The team is accepting donations online at bit.ly/PrUwah. Click on “Something About Mary” under “Top Teams” on the right-hand side of the webpage. Donations may also be mailed to Epilepsy Therapy Project, Attention: Kristel Jacobson, P.O. Box 742, Middleburg, VA 20118.