Two weeks before Christmas 2009, Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) took the life of 4-year old Danny Stanton. Soon after, his parents, Mike and Mariann, created the Danny Did Foundation to help prevent deaths caused by seizures.
Seven-year old Nick Curley never met Danny Stanton. His only connection to Danny was his dad, Brian, and Danny's dad, Mike, grew up together on the north side of Chicago. When Danny died, Brian and his wife, Laura, told their then-4-year old son about the little boy his age who had passed away. Immediately, Nick related to Danny's story as his cousin, Jenny, has dealt with epilepsy. Along with his parents, Nick began researching epilepsy and learned that it could affect anyone and that his cousin could die, too.
That realization sparked something within Nick. Having already helped out epilepsy charities in the past because of Jenny, Nick wanted to do something big; something on his own. Out of that, "100 Miles For Danny" was born.
Earlier this month, Nick began his quest of skating five miles at each of 20 Chicago-area rinks to raise money and awareness for the Danny Did Foundation. Of the 100 miles, Nick, a Mite defenseman in the Glenview Stars Hockey Association, will skate 50 of them backwards. He's getting some help, too, from Chicago Blackhawks skating coach Kevin Delaney.
By the end of the 1000 laps there won't be any questions about Nick's skating ability going forward.
The end goal is to raise $25,000 for the foundation. As of Tuesday, Curley is up to $3,155 and still has 15 skating sessions to go. A Facebook page details each of Nick's skates, while the family has posted his upcoming schedule, along with a way for people to donate toward the goal.
When Danny Stanton's father wrote his son's obituary, the final line read: "Please go and enjoy your life. Danny Did."
Nick Curley is doing just that and making a difference at the same time.
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy