CELEBRITIES AND THOUSANDS OF WALKERS UNITE AT NATION'S CAPITOL TO RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT SEIZURES AND EPILEPSY
[Washington, D.C.] (March 28, 2009) /PRNewswire/ —Thousands of epilepsy advocates, caregivers, patients and their families joined television stars and sports celebrities at the nation's Capitol today to support the third annual National Walk for Epilepsy. Over the past two years, the event has raised more than $2 million dollars and engaged more than 13,000 walkers. Today's event is expected to increase those numbers significantly. Money raised from the Walk helps create much needed programs for people with epilepsy and aid in the search for a cure. The National Walk for Epilepsy was hosted by the Epilepsy Foundation with financial support from Ortho-McNeil Neurologics®, Division of Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Walk chair and star of NBC's "Heroes," Greg Grunberg, whose son has epilepsy, as well as New York Jets offensive lineman and eight-time Pro Bowler, Alan Faneca, and Atlanta Falcons running back Jason Snelling, both diagnosed years ago, all led their own teams of family, friends and fans. And Cincinnati Bengals cornerback, Geoffrey Pope, led his Gridiron Gang team for the second year in honor of his grandmother, who has epilepsy.
"The Walk has continued to gain momentum as more celebrities and people throughout the nation have helped make this the world's largest event dedicated to raising awareness and funds for epilepsy," said president and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation, Eric Hargis. "This event has helped bring epilepsy to the forefront of discussions and gain national attention. We are grateful to the thousands of individuals who helped in our journey to educate, empower and encourage the epilepsy community."
"We were really proud to be part of the Walk again and bring our families and friends together to support the epilepsy community," said Faneca. "It provides a great opportunity to let other people with epilepsy know that they should be advocates for themselves, find the highest quality care and move forward with accomplishing their dreams."
For the first year, Walk participants had the opportunity to view exhibits on topics important to the epilepsy community through the "Educate, Empower and Encourage (E3) Exhibit" held on the National Mall following the Walk. Experts in neurology were stationed throughout the exhibit and addressed topics such as patient and physician communication, treatment options and other participant questions. Educational and inspirational messages and videos could also be viewed from a mini-theater helping people with epilepsy become better informed about living with the condition.
Epilepsy is a serious neurological condition that can develop at any time in life, but there is a particular susceptibility in young children and the elderly. The condition produces seizures, which can range from a momentary disruption of the senses, to short periods of unconsciousness or staring spells, to convulsions. A seizure happens when a brief, strong surge of electrical activity affects part or all of the brain. When a person has two or more unprovoked seizures, they are considered to have epilepsy. Currently there is no cure for epilepsy; however, more than half of people with epilepsy are able to control seizures with existing treatment options.
The Epilepsy Foundation
The Epilepsy Foundation, a national non-profit with affiliated organizations throughout the United States, has led the fight against epilepsy since 1968. The Foundation's goals are to ensure that people with seizures are able to participate in all life experiences; and to prevent, control and cure epilepsy through services, education, advocacy and research, so not another moment is lost to seizures. For additional information, please visit www.epilepsyfoundation.org.
Headquartered in Titusville, N.J., Ortho-McNeil Neurologics®, Division of Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc, focuses exclusively on providing solutions that improve neurological health. The company has products for Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, and acute and preventive migraine treatment. Ortho-McNeil Neurologics®, in conjunction with internal and external research partners, continues to explore new opportunities to develop solutions for unmet healthcare needs in neurology. For more information, visit www.OrthoMcNeilNeurologics.com.