After his 5-month-old daughter, Adelyn, was diagnosed with the rare brain disorder Aicardi syndrome, Trent Stroup immediately took action.
He and his wife, Tina, visited several clinics to try to find the one best suited to treat their daughter. Since deciding on the Johns Hopkins Epilepsy Center, Stroup has made it his mission to raise money for the center — not only to help his daughter, but also to get closer to finding a cure for all children affected by the disorder.
One major part of Stroup's fundraising efforts is the Tri To Help Indoor Triathlon For Epilepsy, now in its ninth year. The next race — a 10-minute swim, a 30-minute bike ride and a 20-minute run — will be Feb. 22 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Merritt Athletic Clubs of Towson and Canton.
Founded in 2005, the Indoor Triathlon For Epilepsy started with 32 participants and raised $3,200. Now the foundation raises an average of $15,000 to $20,000 a year, with 2,500 participants total over the past nine years. In 2009, the foundation even held an indoor relay event for those who weren't swimmers or runners, Stroup said.
"We never really thought about expanding," said Stroup, 47, of Towson.
But the first opportunity came when a participant in Maryland called Stroup with the idea to hold a Pennsylvania race at the Universal Athletic Club in Lancaster. The race has since expanded to Washington, Connecticut, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Arizona, with about six events every year, Stroup said.
Stroup said he came up with the idea of an indoor triathlon after seeing it done in much colder climates, such as Minnesota and other parts of the Midwest. In bringing his indoor triathlon to the East Coast, Stroup decided on the 10-minute swim, 30-minute bike ride and 20-minute run.
"As far as I know, we're the first ones to ever do that split," said Stroup, adding that many people have told him the triathlon helped them transition easily to sprint triathlons.
One of the cause's biggest benefactors is Jeffrey Ayres, who works with Trent's wife at Venable LLP's Baltimore office. Ayres has been participating in the triathlon since 2009 and has raised more than $20,000.
"To know that I can assist their passion, and that it really is a passion for them, there's no better feeling," Ayres said.
Ayres also reaches out regularly to his colleagues at Venable to try to raise additional support for the Epilepsy Center.
"As I've begun to do it, and reach out to my contacts, I just hear story after story of families that do have kids in that circumstance," Ayres said.
Stroup's motivation for starting this race comes from his belief in the Epilepsy Center and what it has done for his now-9-year-old daughter.
"At Cleveland Clinic and some of these other places, we felt like we were definitely a number, but at Hopkins, it felt like they really cared about Addie," said Stroup, who now works on the Abilities Network's board for the Epilepsy Foundation at Hopkins.
Registration for the event is still open, but there are limited spots remaining in the men's, women's and relay team divisons. All proceeds benefit the pediatric program at Johns Hopkins Epilepsy Center.
To register, volunteer or for more information, go to tritohelp.org or call 443-851-5763.