MOOSIC, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — More than 65 million people worldwide live with a condition that causes recurring, unprovoked seizures. It’s the brain disorder epilepsy.
Today, I had the honor of serving as emcee of an event aimed at raising critical funds and awareness.
All of the usual excitement and energy were evident at the 2022 Walk to End Epilepsy at PNC Field, but there was one thing noticeably missing.
“Oh my goodness. Mike was so inspirational,” said Rena Loughlin.
42-year-old Mike Loughlin was Rena Loughlin’s husband of ten years. While he was driving a car in August, he suffered an epileptic seizure and crashed, losing his life to injuries.
“He had a very tough journey with epilepsy. But he never let it keep him down,” Rena told Eyewitness News.
“He had a very good life. He fought the fight hard,” said Mary Loughlin, the northeast Resource Coordinator of the Epilepsy Foundation Eastern Pennsylvania.
The fight, according to his mother Mary, started two decades ago when he was bitten by a mosquito. It caused meningitis which was blamed for his epilepsy. His health journey resulted in her working to support the mission of the Epilepsy Foundation of Eastern Pennsylvania.
“It’s to inspire people to give the families and the people with epilepsy courage, support to tell them that they can do and be anything they want to be,” Mary explained.
“Mike was one of the counselors when I was 11,” Seamus Hanrahan said.
Seamus Hanrahan went from attending the epilepsy camp in Pike County called Camp Achieve to becoming a fellow camp counselor with Loughlin, and also serving with the Epilepsy Foundation of Eastern Pennsylvania. Still grieving the man he considered his best friend, he walked with the group “Maximus Mike” in Loughlin’s honor just eight weeks after the tragic car crash.
“It’s hard. It’s really hard but it has reinforced myself to continue to be with the foundation and do what I do with them and to help other people not feel alone because that’s what Mike did for me,” Hanrahan explained.
One in 26 people will develop epilepsy just as Mike did.
While he lost his life, Loughlin’s influence lives on to help end the seizures, silence, and stigma of epilepsy.
“It’s such a challenging journey to be on and we’re all here together because no one should be alone during this journey,” Rena told Eyewitness News.
Today’s walk-to-end epilepsy raised more than $50,000 to benefit the Epilepsy Foundation of Eastern Pennsylvania. The money will, in part, help build an epilepsy community center in northeastern Pennsylvania.