20140729 1754273It's Tuesday morning at 9:20. My phone rings. "Dianne, I just received a phone call from Scott's principal at school (Scott has epilepsy, has just moved to town with his family, and can no longer attend his previous specialized school). He has to leave the school by Friday! What should I do?" There are no words that can convey the pain and exhaustion I hear in this mom's voice. My heart just aches for her. I can hear that she has been crying and there is fear in her voice.

In less than five minutes, I have to be out the door for a meeting with a group of business people to ask them for help about a potential fundraising project, and my mind is spinning. I am trying to calm the mom down and let her know that we are here to help her, that we will help her, and that she is not alone. I knew that this call would one day come. And plan B would need to be put into action. We are now in a crisis!

When I arrive at the business meeting I share the story of my morning, and I am met with complete silence. The silence breaks with a flurry of questions; "Dianne, are you sure?", "what is the need?", "...how come, Dianne?" All very valid questions. I tell them that, although I wish I had the same reaction, my breath has not been taken away. We live this exclusion, isolation and discrimination every day.

IMG 1906On October 6th, ten people will be climbing the Grand Canyon with me to raise awareness and funds to ensure that Epilepsy Durham Region can conquer each and every crisis. This Epic Climb is only the beginning and will help to make it possible for Epilepsy Durham Region to ensure that every parent who needs help, just like Scott's mom, can find it in their community. I have committed a year of my personal and family time and several thousand dollars in preparation for this climb. With every step I take, with every uphill path I am on, I use stories like Scott's to gain perspective, and push on. If he can find the strength to get through this, then I can do the same.

Join us on this journey.

Dianne McKenzie


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