Spring Valley resident forms team to ‘rise above seizures’

A Spring Valley resident has teamed up with a former resident for the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota (EFMN)’s annual Rise Above Seizures Walk Thursday, Aug. 1, in Rochester.

The walk is the single largest fundraising and awareness event in Minnesota and North Dakota to benefit people with seizures. The walk began in 1999 in Rochester and since then has expanded to four additional cities, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Duluth, St. Cloud and Fargo/Moorhead.

This will be Spring Valley resident Monica Gusa’s sixth year walking and fourth year actively fundraising. She was diagnosed with epilepsy in her early 20s, although her doctors believe she went undiagnosed several years prior.

Tammy VanMoer, formerly of Spring Valley, now of Rochester, was diagnosed in 2017. She started walking and fundraising in 2018.

The two joined forces last year as “Flushing the Stigmas.” Together they came up with four different, creative, fun fundraisers that put them in second place for 2018 Rochester Rise Above Seizures donors, thanks to the generous donations from their communities.

In 2019 “Team VaGus” has replaced “Flushing the Stigmas” with the same two women, just a new name for their team.

The Rise Above Seizures Walk celebrates people with seizures and raises awareness and funds to support services for the many people EFMN serves annually. Over 3,500 walkers from five communities come together with force to raise funds to help people with epilepsy realize their full potential and stop seizures. All funds raised go toward education, connecting and empowering individuals living with seizures and honoring loved ones.

Seizures and epilepsy are more common than most people realize. One in 10 will have a seizure in his or her lifetime and one in 26 will develop epilepsy. Out of those that develop epilepsy, one third will develop refractory or intractable epilepsy, which means it can’t be treated or is very difficult to treat with medication.

Donations can be made to Team VaGus online at the 2019 Rise Above Seizure Walk website. People can also join the team on Aug. 1 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Rochester Eagles Club for the Rochester Rise Above Seizure Walk. Register under Team VaGus.

“We’d love to see you and walk with our community,” Gusa said. “Your support means so much.”