Last night I was very fortunate to attend a lecture from a lady who was nothing short of a revelation.
I have to confess to my ignorance of the sport of cycling, despite watching occasional clips of the Tour de France, that I had never previously heard of Marion Clignet. Yet when I read the invitation from WA Epilepsy Association head honcho, Suresh Rajan, I knew we were in for a treat.
Cyclist, Marion Cligny had been crowned World Champion six times, as well as double Olympic Silver Medalist, ten times French national champion and multiple USA champion, plus a world record breaker in a lengthy and illustrious career in the sport, all despite taking medication for epilepsy.
The audience was obviously in immediate rapport with Marion because most of them either suffered the effects of epilepsy, or their lives had been touched by a connection with someone else who has the ‘condition’.
Nevertheless, it is fair to say that even a person who couldn’t care less about the topic would have been moved by Marion’s inspirational tenacity to overcome any obstacle put before her.
Rejected by the American National Team on the grounds that her having epilepsy might prove a hazard to her teammates, thus effectively discriminated against, Marion accepted an invitation to race for France, courtesy of her French parentage.
Marion also overcame discrimination against her gender in that women do not enjoy anywhere near the level of sponsorship or support as men do, in her chosen sport.
Now effectively retired from competing at the top level, (she just does triathlons for fun!) Marion revealed how a person with epilepsy can suffer a seizure anywhere, anytime. She explained the absurdity with which first aiders can be trained in how to help people who have suffered heart attacks, and have defribulators often readily available, yet the vast majority of the population have no idea what to do if someone has a seizure, nor is emergency medication readily available!
The message from Marion Clignet was delivered in a witty, spellbinding, yet forthright manner – that ‘those who face major adversities can realise their dreams and ambitions and that actually having these hurdles can often become the driving motivation behind their successes.’
In her book, ‘Tenacious’ with Benjamin C Hovey, she concludes, simply yet from the heart, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”.
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way”.
Cycling World Champion
Champion of the Cause of Spreading Awareness of Epilepsy
This poses the obvious question – If Marion can be a World Champion, despite suffering seizures, can’t the rest of us also ‘Ride faster, harder and with a smile’? – Thanks Marion 🙂
Further information about epilepsy can be obtained from:
Mr Suresh Rajan – Executive Officer
Epilepsy Association of Western Australia
P: (08) 93467699 F: (08)93467696 E: email@example.com
The Niche Suite B, 11 Aberdare Road, Nedlands WA 6009