FAIRBORN, Ohio (WDTN) — A Dayton family is making sure their son’s memory lives on almost six years after his death with a special remembrance celebration that also helps shed light on a rare condition.
Trent Weiss died from SUDEP, Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy.
According to the CDC, it’s rare; only about one in one thousand dies each year from it.
“No doctor, no one ever warned us about this. We didn’t really know it existed,” says Shelby Peters, Trent’s dad. “He had the worst seizures when he had seizures. He didn’t develop epilepsy until after puberty, which makes it worse, and it never goes away.”
“When our son had these seizures, it wasn’t just the actual seizure. He had to recover sometimes for hours, even the whole day,” describes Shelby.
On August 27, 2017, Trent died from SUDEP at the age of 20.
“The last thing he said was I love you dad,” tears up Shelby.
“It’s hard for me to talk about him still,” says Nina Peters, Trent’s mom. “We had a very, very close bond his entire life.”
Remembering their son, the Peters come to Community Park in Fairborn where they used to spend a lot of time with Trent. A bench dedicated to him sits across from a pond that holds special meaning for them.
“This spot behind us is one of the places where Trent learned how to fish and became a very big passion of his. Fishing was–other than family and his son—it was something that was definitely his number one hobby. It all started right here behind us, and now we still take our grandson. He took his son here. I fished here as a kid. It just has a lot of wonderful memories,” says Shelby.
Near the pond, in the park is where the Peters are holding a celebration of Trent’s life on Sunday, March 26. It’s also Epilepsy Awareness Day and also what would’ve been Trent’s 26th birthday.
“We are going to have as much food as we can provide. So, get here early, because we do plan on a lot of people. We are going to release pigeons at 2:30 from this bench. We’re expecting a lot of people to show up. The response has been overwhelming. It’s absolutely been overwhelming,” says Shelby.
With that response, they’re hoping to not only remember Trent and share memories of him but also raise awareness for SUDEP.
Shelby hopes to eventually start a nonprofit in Trent’s name to raise money for smart watches to alert families when their loved one is having a seizure.
“He went by ‘One of a Kind.’ It would be Trent’s One of a Kind Watches for Epilepsy,” states Shelby.
Shelby says it could’ve saved Trent’s life, and he wants to help save others.
“It’s all very raw right now. This is what I hope to help get us to that point,” says Shelby. “It’s a big goal and dream of mine to get there. It’s an idea right now. And it’s becoming more and more of a reality.”
The Peters are inviting everyone to come out Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Shelter 5 at the bottom of Community Park in Fairborn for food and drinks.
There will also be a 50/50 raffle and all money raised will go to the Epilepsy Foundation of America.