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The Unique Way This Woman With Epilepsy Reduces Her Seizures

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When Jackie Quetti has a seizure during a run, it doesn’t necessarily mean her workout is over.

If they’re long seizures, I stop for a minute,” Quetti told Women’s Running. “And when I come out of it, I just keep on going.”

At age 5, Quetti was diagnosed with epilepsy, a central nervous system disorder that can cause seizures or periods of unusual behavior. Today, the junior in college experiences daily absence seizures — lapses of unawareness — which she describes as staring spells. For her, they last about 5-10 seconds each, two to four times a day.

“I just see a wall. I don’t see anything fuzzy,” Quetti explained to her sister, Rachel Quetti, in a video made for school (below).

Quetti runs both cross country and track at Elms College in Massachusetts. Her neurologist at Boston Children’s Hospital told her that long-distance running could actually help reduce her seizures, according to an Elms College newsletter, and Quetti said this has been the case for her. She does, however, make sure to always run with someone.

It’s basically a treatment for me,” she said, according to the newsletter, “and it helps me have fewer seizures.”

An estimated 2.2 million people in the United States have epilepsy, according to the Epilepsy Foundation. Despite stereotypes, not everyone with epilepsy has convulsive seizures, called “tonic-clonic” or “grand mal” seizures.

During her junior year of high school, Quetti did experience a grand mal seizure in her Massachusetts home. It scared her but also inspired her to start fundraising for epilepsy.

“I thought, ‘What can I do about this? What education and support and awareness can we bring about for epilepsy?‘” she said, according to the newsletter.

She went on to found a Walk for Epilepsy fundraiser in Cheshire, Massachusetts, according to The Berkshire Eagle. She’s also raised more than $38,000 for the Epilepsy Foundation of New England, making her the top fundraiser for its Springfield office, according to Elms College.

Watch Quetti in action below:

Editor’s note: Please see a medical professional for coming up with a treatment plan for your epilepsy. For more information and resources, visit The Epilepsy Foundation’s website.

Originally published: July 16, 2015
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