Jenna’s Story

By: Brittany Gibbons

Jenna Parlette (age 20) was a Junior at Wilmington College and a Miamisburg graduate from Miamisburg, OH. Jenna was diagnosed with epilepsy in the 6th grade. She was also a very competitive athlete. Jenna was one of the top runners for cross country and track throughout high school and college. During a summer race in 2008, she collapsed on the course and had to be given CPR. The doctors discovered Jenna also had an irregular heartbeat that would have to be controlled with a defibrillator.

Despite this, Jenna kept pushing herself and ran like a champion. She began her running career at Wilmington College in 2011 where she quickly became one of the top runners in the OAC and recently broke the 10,000 and 5,000 M records this year. She also holds the indoor mile record at Wilmington. Jenna was a pure inspiration and joy to everyone that knew her. With her daily lifestyle challenges to prevent seizures, Jenna maintained a 3.5 gpa, a part-time job, and an over-the-top running career.

On August 31, 2013, during a cross country race at Franklin College (IN), Jenna was winning the race when she collapsed about 30 meters before the finish line with multiple seizures. She was rushed to a hospital in Indianapolis. After a few days of fighting, Jenna passed away on September 3, 2013.

Jenna passed doing what she loved to do; running. It was her passion. During her fight, the hashtag #JENNASTRONG appeared on twitter and instagram and began to grow rapidly with prayers and inspiration. Shirts and bracelets were made and worn by teams in the OAC and even reached DI cross country teams. Please share Jenna’s story through the hashtag #JENNASTRONG so that everyone can perservere to be JennaStrong and fight for a cure for epilepsy.