UW-Madison: Badgers, Gophers team up for epilepsy awareness

CONTACT: Brian Lucas, 608-263-5052, [email protected]; Anne Morgan Giroux, 608-446-6052, [email protected]

MADISON – On Nov. 29, the Wisconsin Badgers and the Minnesota Golden Gophers will battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe. Even as the two teams clash on the gridiron, they will collaborate on a joint effort to axe epilepsy.

To show support for Minnesota coach Jerry Kill and the one in 26 people who will develop epilepsy in their lifetime, Badger and Gopher players will mark epilepsy awareness month by wearing purple stickers on their helmets. Fans are encouraged to wear both their team colors and something purple.

“It is great to be able to partner with Minnesota on this cause,” Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen said. “It was a natural for us because of the great research that happens on our campus and the connection coach Kill has to this condition. We are honored to be able to help raise awareness of the effects of epilepsy and the research needs associated with it.”

Lily’s Fund for Epilepsy Research, a nonprofit organization that supports epilepsy research at UW-Madison, is coordinating the project. Currently, Lily’s Fund supports one postgraduate research fellowship in the Department of Neuroscience, and funds a two-year study led by UW neuroscientist and psychiatrist Giulio Tononi. Tononi is looking at ways to use HD-EEG technology to better understand how seizures affect the brain.

“For too long, people who live with epilepsy have lived in the shadows. It’s heartwarming and inspiring to have two prominent football teams shed light on epilepsy awareness and the need for research,” said Anne Morgan Giroux, founder of Lily’s Fund. “This is such a classy, fun way to support coach Kill and everyone else who is touched by epilepsy.”

One out of 26 people worldwide will experience epilepsy at some point in their lives. More people suffer from epilepsy than multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s disease combined. However, funding for epilepsy research is less than half of the amount spent studying any one of those other afflictions.

For more information, visit http://www.lilysfund.org/1in26.