Dominion DECA Hosts Suit Up for SUDEP

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Dominion DECA is holding a fundraiser for the epilepsy foundation and the John Paul Popovich scholarship fund. Dubbed “Suit Up for SUDEP”  for sudden unexpected death from epilepsy, which Popovich died from. The event will be a glow in the dark runathon and will take place on October 26th at 6:30 pm.

John Paul Popovich or “JP” graduated from Dominion in 2015 and was very active in the Dominion community. He was an avid swimmer, he set the Virginia High School Leagues state-meet record for Class 4A, and also left his mark in many other ways. Popovich was attending the University of Virginia when he passed away in 2015 from SUDEP, and the fundraisers goal is to inform the community and others about epilepsy and SUDEP. Hailey Hollerbach, the president of DECA, said, “If they had known about it he would have known to normally take his medication every day, and then coincidentally the day that he didn’t [take his medication] was the day that he passed.”

This fundraiser was chosen to be one of the two fundraisers that Dominion participates in. Ryan Base, the director of SBE, said, “We knew we wanted to do something differently for a community service project.” Simmi Mangat, the VA DECA State Historian, also said, “We haven’t done a lot of community service projects through our school and we thought it’d be a really good thing to get the community involved in [it] because he had a large impact on not just the Dominion community, but the Sterling community as well.”

The fundraiser will be a glow in the dark runathon when eight teams of four will race around the track for 19 minutes to represent the 19 years of John Paul’s life. It will be a relay style, with one person running at a time on the team of four people, and high-fiving for the next person on the team to start to run. Each participant will register individually, and then make a team, which is then matched with a sponsor.

Registration for the race opened up October 1st and the community can register online, and students can also register during all lunch shifts. For students and teachers, the cost is $20, and $25 for other community members. For the race, participants will receive a race shirt, glow in the dark wristbands, and two glow sticks.

At the event, there will also be a glow zone, where participants can go if they aren’t racing or just want to come and support, but not actually run. There will be games such as tug of war and cornhole in that area.

When it comes to who the fundraising money is going to, 75% of the funds are going to the SUDEP Institute and 25% of the funds are going to the JP Memorial Scholarship Fund. There is a donation section on the website where participants can register, and the goal for the fundraiser is to raise $10,000.

The fundraiser is an opportunity for the whole community to come together. Base said, “The one thing we wanted to push was [that] this isn’t just a DECA thing, everyone can come on down from the community parents, friends, family, you know it can be in SCA, Global [Ambassadors], Yearbook, stuff like that so it’s not just a DECA thing.”

While DECA is the main organizer of the fundraiser, there are three other clubs who are working with DECA to put this fundraiser into motion. Mangat said, “We’ve also partnered with four other clubs in the school, we have [a] Leadership Committee which is us [DECA], Global Ambassadors, SCA, [and] NHS.”

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