Over the years I have been going to Comicon, (first time in 2003) while I was always “aware” of their presence, I never really knew much about them or the club. In July of 2007, a friend of mine I was with pointed over at the booth and suggested I have a look, (as any Star Wars Fan should)
I have volunteered with other organizations in the past, but never felt the true satisfaction I do now with the 501st. Before it was as though certain aspects of other organizations were routine to me, I never got to see “how” I was actually helping. Whenever I donate food, or clothing, it’s always comforting to me knowing that I have a visual to associate with the cause, where as before, I would donate and not actually “see” where my help was going.
On April 25th, 2010 I took part in the Sharons Ride/Walk for Epilepsy at De Anza Cove in mission Bay, San Diego along with my fellow troopers and friends.
This Marked our second year being involved with the Epilepsy Foundation of San Diego and the walk.
How it works is, a date is set for the event and we try our best to raise not just Funds, but awareness of this unfortunate disorder. The walk was 5k along the bay. Last year we had one trooper out of all of us, go the distance (which wasn’t expected, it’s a long haul in armor!), but this year, WE ALL MADE IT! The dedication and drive that day was just one of many reminders why I am happy to be a 501st member.
Being involved with this cause actually helps me with other causes. When I am helping raise funds, donating charitable items, or just taking them to a galaxy far far away for a brief time period, there is a part of me that can relate to some degree. The responsibility and determination is something that goes hand in hand with any disease and/or disorder.
When I was 12, I was diagnosed with Epilepsy. Even as I type that out, or mention it to a group of people, it is hard to believe that just over a year ago, I was very selective on whom to admit that to. But since my involvement with the Epilepsy Foundation,
"I feel more comfortable because awareness is key to a cure"
-What are your future goals with this cause?
For the cause itself, as I mentioned before, to create more awareness. Awareness will bring more attention to assist others who are striving for other methods to cope with Epilepsy as well as a cure. One of the ways that this can happen is to have a spokesperson that has a big impact in the community. For example there is Michael J. Fox who speaks for MS, Lance Armstrong for Cancer, just to name a couple.Epilepsy and seizures affect almost 3 million Americans of all ages, at an estimated annual cost of $15.5 billion in direct and indirect costs.
For those who aren't sure what Epilepsy is, when the brain is experiencing an excessive amount of electricity, a seizure can occur. Seizures are not all the same. There are actually around 40 different types of Seizures. Some can be controlled by medication, others not. The Epilepsy Foundation website contains a lot of information to help people understand more about this disorder.
-Where have you traveled to participate in 501st events? Where’s the farthest you’ve traveled?
Aside from what I mentioned about memories and helping create them for all generations, what attracts me the most about the 501st is its structure and respect from LFL (Lucas Film). We are an organized group. Being able to manage an organization that spans over 44 countries is no easy task. Being recognized after 30 years of the first film by millions has a huge affect on the charities we attend, as well as high profile events such as movie releases, award ceremonies, and other events such as Star Wars in Concert.
This is a great question, I’m glad you asked
For me, the day before an event (even if its an event that is only for an hour or so) lack of sleep the day before is pretty common. You could be buffing your armor and suddenly realize that your batteries in your helmet that power your fans or your voice amp are dead….and its 2 am! Personally I like to have everything ready the night before. I make sure that I don’t have any loose ends or potential hazards that can happen during a crucial moment.
In high school as a wrestler, I didn’t get much sleep before a big match or tournament, its basically the same. You lay in bed thinking about the event and how its going to turn out. As of this writing I am already starting to think about my role in my next event!
As a matter of fact, on May 15th, there is a Star Wars in Concert pre-promotion / Charity Event at a local mall in La Jolla (UTC). We will be promoting the concert by handing out flyers, and in return there will be a $500.00 donation to the San Diego Food Bank! I have been selected to wear my Vader Costume.
On May 28th will be The Star Wars in Concert at the San Diego Sports Arena. This is a must see if you have never gone. This is something you don’t “see”, rather it is an “Experience”. Here I will be wearing my animated clone armor. Everyone should experience this at least once in their lifetime.
If anyone would like to contact me or add me to their Facebook, feel free: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also More photos of this years Epilepsy Walk can be found on my facebook as well as other images.
Also More photos of this years Epilepsy Walk can be found on my facebook as well as other images. You can also view more HERE
Thanks for reading,