Bloomsday shoe raises awareness about epilepsy, brings community - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Bloomsday shoe raises awareness about epilepsy, brings community together

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

Bloomsday 2018 is less than a week away. People from all walks of life turn out for the run, and it also brings out the best in people before the run.

Ryan Oelrich is an artist. For the past eight years, he’s been creating a “Bloomsday Shoe” art piece.

“It's a celebration of Bloomsday. I always try to think of what is it about this wonderful that's so beneficial to Spokane, so wonderful to people,” he says.

The first shoe he made was made out of balloons. This year, he’s using a different medium and it’s celebrating the memory of one woman named Victoria, who had epilepsy. The piece is called “Victoria’s Footsteps.” It’s remembering her passion for being active and living boldly and raising awareness about epilepsy.

Data from Epilepsy Foundation say that one in 26 Americans will develop this neurological condition in their lifetime. Raising awareness is something close to Ryan’s heart.

“I do have epilepsy myself,” he says.

More than 250 shoes are in this sculpture. They’re donated from people across Washington state who are living with epilepsy and their friends.

“Each shoe is unique. Each tells a very different story,” Ryan says.

It’s in line with this year’s theme: “although we are different, we should all run together.” Ryan says that’s really what Bloomsday is all about – bringing the community together.  

The shoe will be on display at River Park Square until Thursday when it will be moved to the Convention Center for the Bloomsday Trade Show.  After the event, the shoes will be donated to a local charity. 

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