ROC Stop Seizures CEO Ryan O’Connor, who is originally from Morristown, started a 1,000-mile walk from Longwood, Fla., to Fenton, Mo., on Saturday, Oct. 1 to raise awareness about epilepsy, from which he suffers.
ROC Stop Seizures is a Florida-based nonprofit whose mission is to raise epilepsy awareness.
O’Connor, who served in the U.S. Army as a cook from 1997 to 2000, expects the journey to take between 21 and 28 days, and he expects to walk between 30 and 50 miles each day.
The exact route will be determined on a day-by-day basis. He expects to walk to Tallahassee, Fla., and continue northwest through Montgomery, Ala., until he reaches Memphis, Tenn. There, he plans to turn north and walk through Arkansas and into Fenton.
O’Connor grew up in Morristown and moved to Florida in 2007; four years later, when he was about 36, he was diagnosed with epilepsy.
In the past 11 years since his diagnosis, O’Connor has seen multiple doctors and taken many medications with no answers as to what caused the epilepsy or what remedies he could use to keep him from having seizures.
O’Connor had brain surgery in 2020 to install an implant designed to stop seizures before they happen, but O’Connor’s seizures stem from deep in his brain and spread to both sides of his brain.
Because of this, he wasn’t the typical surgical candidate. He was the first in Florida to have this surgery and this type of implant placed.
O’Connor still has seizures, but with implant adjustments and changes in medications, there has slowly been relief.