The women’s lacrosse team at Occidental College hosted a “Purple Game” on Saturday April 13th to raise awareness of epilepsy and honor the Aquino-Beglinger family and their daughter Sophie. The Purple Game was led by Lauren Wemple, who is not only the lacrosse team captain and organizer of the event, but also lives with epilepsy, as does Sophie Beglinger.
The young Beglinger boys, Henry and Oliver, worked beforehand, helping to set up the field for the game and an informational table for the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles. The Beglinger family was introduced on the field before the game, and during the half-time, Elizabeth Aquino, Sophie’s mom, spoke to the crowd about their family’s personal experience raising a daughter with epilepsy. It was a day brim full of purple – on team uniforms and smiling faces.
One in 26 people will be diagnosed with epilepsy in their lifetime. An estimated 50,000 deaths occur each year in our nation from seizure-related illnesses, more than die from breast cancer, but epilepsy does not receive the focus or funds needed to fight the disease. This may change as the recently announced national Brain Initiative is expected to support top scientists in studying epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia, and autism, all diseases that are on the rise in our society but barely understood.
A local fixture around the Larchmont area, Aquino is also a prolific writer and advocate for special needs children and their families. She writes a daily blog “where parenting, disability, poetry and politics intersect” that is a beautiful homage to a reflective life – full of inspiration, random thoughts, snatches of poetry and some stunning photography. It is the kind of thoughtful yet tasty treat one should find time to consume on a daily basis. Check it out at elizabethaquino.blogspot.com.