Every year, ASI Gymnastics, participates in the Stroll for Epilepsy benefiting the Epilepsy Foundation. Each ASI gym location forms a team to raise money for the foundation and participate in the Stroll together. This year, Team ASI Arlington has decided to join forces with another team, Red Hot Bello, as this team touches the heart of one very special ASI staff member, Faviola Garcia. Faviola works at ASI Arlington as a Sales Rep. When she found out ASI was participating in the Stroll again this year, this instantly warmed her heart. About five years ago, Faviola had her first awareness of epilepsy when her close high school friend, Aurelio, died in his sleep from a seizure. Faviola has been working hard with her teammates at ASI Arlington to bring these two teams together for one very special cause.

Here is Faviola’s story:
I first met Aurelio our Freshman year in high school through a mutual friend. We just started getting to know each other little by little. It wasn’t even a week that we had started talking and he was already asking for a birthday present. Boy o boy! Did he have such a great sense of humor! I loved it! One thing I do remember is that he LOVED talking about his family. We found out we had a good amount of mutual friends, two of whom are my closest friends as well.

I considered him one of my best friends. He just always knew what to say or he would give some insight into a situation. He was always there no matter what. I know I trusted him from the start. Our conversations always made me laugh! One minute we would talk about family, the next minute we would talk about music or trips. He loved to play his guitar. Later on, he started playing the drums. While in high school, he and a group of friends played together. Aurelio’s favorite bands were the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Tupac. He definitely touched everyone he came across and was so helpful. He was just so full of knowledge and life.

On July 8, 2009 I woke up early in the morning to go to Eastfield and get my schedule ready for the Fall semester. He kept popping up in mind that morning, but I kept putting off sending him a text. Later on that night, I receive a phone call from a number I did not recognize; it was our friend, Josh. He gave me the news of Aurelio passing in his sleep from a seizure. Of course, I didn’t believe it at all. When I told my family about this, they asked me if he was epileptic, and honestly, I had never heard of that word until then. After that, I began researching to understand what exactly this condition was.

When I saw his family was doing a benefit concert last year to raise money for the Epilepsy Foundation, I immediately jumped to make it. The concert raised a little over $1000!! From there on out, I tried to keep up with the events they planned to raise funds and awareness.

Message about Aurelio’s family:
The family was shocked at the loss of their young and vibrant Bello. All the more shocking was the fact that Bello died from Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) since he was not diagnosed with suffering from epilepsy or seizures. The family began researching seizure symptoms and realized that Bello had indeed been showing signs of seizures.

Bello’s family and close friends felt they had to share his story and educate others about seizures. They created SAFE (Spreading Awareness For Epilepsy) in 2012. The group of young professionals hosts a concert “Music Rocks Your Body: Don’t Let Seizures Do The Same,” to honor Bello’s love of life and music. There, SAFE educates concert goers on seizure symptoms and first aid. The money raised at the concert is donated to forward epilepsy research.

This year’s concert will be held:
Friday, May 31, 2013
Green Elephant
5627 Dyer St Dallas, TX 75206
8pm – 12am

SAFE is focused on advocating seizure first aid and education particularly in the Spanish speaking community where the stigma and myths of epilepsy are prevalent. Through SAFE, the Sanchez family hopes to honor Bello’s memory because like his namesake – he was beautiful.