Mother speaks out about SUDEP following son’s death

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – A Michigan woman is speaking out tonight, working to raise awareness about a disorder that took the life of her son, in hopes of preventing others from going through this same tragedy.

Ian Render passed away in November 2014 from “Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy,” also known as SUDEP.

Today would’ve been Ian’s 29th birthday.

Ian’s mother believes this is the same thing that recently took the life of former Disney actor Cameron Boyce at only 20-years-old.

“Ian developed epilepsy at age 11, he had 3 seizures at age 11, 2 when he was 24, none other that we know of, and passed of SUDEP, which meant that he just went to bed and never woke up,” said Anne Render.

It’s a loss that Ian’s mother Anne never expected.

“It was a tremendous shock to us to find out that he had passed away,” said Render. “I had never heard of SUDEP. It was never mentioned.”

SUDEP is the leading cause of death among young adults with poorly controlled seizures and 1 out of 150 of these people die from it each year, according to the Epilepsy Foundation.

“His neurologist in Colorado told me that she thought he was low risk, I immediately went on the Epilepsy Foundation website after he passed and I read about SUDEP and really Ian was not low risk,” said Render.

Render is using her pain to warn others.

“As I’ve kind of gone through the grief process, it has become really important to me to make sure that other families don’t go through this,” said Render.

The Epilepsy Foundation adds the best way to prevent SUDEP is to strive for seizure control by taking medicine on time, getting enough sleep, and avoiding drugs and alcohol.

“There have been a few incidences where a person, if reached soon enough, may be able to be saved,” said Render.

In the hard times, Render remembers a quote from Ian’s favorite book: “We can’t change the cards that we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”

“He really wanted to make a difference and so I do feel that this would be important to him, that the word got out,” said Render.

Ian graduated from Michigan State University in secondary education and was a 7th grade math teacher in Colorado when he passed away.

If you’d like to learn more about SUDEP, click here.

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