On Sunday, March 3, Alec Reid died.
Reid played right wing for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s (QMJHL) Blainville-Boisbriand Armada.
But on and off the ice, Reid also battled epilepsy. And at 18 years old – he died from complications from the disease.
Because epilepsy isn’t a condition, an issue, or a disorder.
It’s a disease. Without a cure.
As someone who also lives with epilepsy, news such as Reid’s death is always difficult.
Until about seven years ago, I believed people couldn’t die from epilepsy if they knew the cause. My first seizure was brought brain tumour.
For years I didn’t know I was at risk for Sudden Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP). I didn’t know there were over 40 classifications of seizures. My seizures are Focal Onset Aware, formerly Simple Partial. I can see and hear, and I’m able to speak normally for about 20 seconds, depending on the length of the seizure.
The World Health Organization recognizes epilepsy as a disease, such as cancer or diabetes.
We need more education about epilepsy. Plus, more resources to study seizures and the cause. Over 50 million people globally have epilepsy. That’s more than the population of Spain.
Reid was one of those 50 million who lived with epilepsy.
Tomorrow, another 87 people will be diagnosed with the disease.
Today though, we lost an 18-year-old teenager to a disease that doesn’t have a cure.
A young hockey player. A well-liked teammate on a junior hockey team.
And someone’s child.
Perspective is difficult. Education is not.
Photo credit: http://theqmjhl.ca/article/the-qmjhl-family-mourns-the-loss-of-armadas-alec-reid