Epilepsy Foundation close to Rondeau family's hearts
Group honors their volunteer efforts
Scott Rondeau remembers the moment like it was yesterday.
It was July 4, 2000, and his sister, Susan Rondeau, was sleeping.
Susan, then 35, woke in the middle of the night and experienced her first seizure.
Scott didn't know what was happening to her. He didn't know how to help.
"There was no warning," Scott recalled.
Twelve years later, Scott, who now lives with his sister in Menomonee Falls after growing up in Elm Grove and attending Brookfield Central High School in the early 1980s, has a better grasp of his sister's seizure disorder, known as epilepsy.
And he knows how frightening it is to watch someone go through that.
"I would not wish that on my own worst enemy," Scott said. "It's pretty scary, whenever I watch it. It is short-lived, and she comes out of it. But for that moment, it's a scary situation."
However, instead of being frightened by the condition, Scott, Susan and their parents, Tom and Susan Rondeau of Brookfield, became advocates of the Epilepsy Foundation of Southeastern Wisconsin.
The family has volunteered at the foundation's summer Brainstorm Run/Walk and Scott's Wauwatosa store, Candy Bouquet, creates and designs the centerpieces for the Toast of the Town event.
But this year the family had a bigger role at the latter event.
The foundation awarded the family the Lila Marcus Award two weeks ago at the Epilepsy Foundation's 19th annual Toast of the Town auction and dinner.
The award honors people who have overcome the challenges of epilepsy and raised awareness of the chronic neurological disorder.
"We were surprised by the honor but very humbled by it," Scott said.
He added that while Susan's condition is not as severe as others' - she has maintained her job as a teacher at Goddard School in Brookfield - a seizure could happen at any moment.
And because this powerful brain disorder still affects his family, Scott knows the foundation that supports 30,000 people with seizure disorders and an additional 100,000 family members will continue to be part of their lives.
"The foundation has been so great to us," Scott said. "We'll support them because it's a very important cause to us."
To suggest a person to be spotlighted, email Chris Kuhagen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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