Rick Harrison of 'Pawn Stars' and University of Minnesota Coach Jerry Kill Headline National Walk for Epilepsy, 3/22
LANDOVER, MD - Rick Harrison, star of the top-rated TV show "Pawn Stars" and Jerry Kill, head coach of the University of Minnesota football team, both live with epilepsy. They will lead thousands of people who face the challenges of living with seizures, as well as their families, friends and supporters, at the eighth annual National Walk for Epilepsy on March 22 at 8 a.m. on the Washington Monument grounds.
More than two million people in the United States are living with epilepsy. One in 26 Americans will develop epilepsy during their lifetime. Epilepsy a medical condition characterized by recurring seizures can affect anyone, of any age, at any time. The number and severity of seizures varies across the spectrum. In more than one-third of people with epilepsy, their seizures resist all forms of treatment and can be extremely severe and debilitating.
Rick Harrison lived with seizures until he was a teenager and recently became a national spokesperson for the Epilepsy Foundation to help raise awareness and provide support for all people impacted by seizures.
"Having seizures as a kid was scary," said Harrison. "Even though my seizures have stopped, I understand what it is like for people who still live with seizures every day. I am proud to work with the Epilepsy Foundation and help lead the National Walk for Epilepsy. I can't wait to meet everyone on March 22."
Jerry Kill has been coach of the Minnesota Golden Gophers football team since 2010, and his epilepsy came to light when he had seizures on the sidelines a few times during his career. Coach Kill and the University of Minnesota emphasize that seizures should not stop anyone from living to their potential. Coach Kill has become a role model for thousands of people living with epilepsy and seizures. Recently, the University of Minnesota extended his coaching contract to 2018.
"My team knows I expect them to focus on being the best we can be, on the field, in school, in life...even when circumstances are tough. I expect that of myself, too," said Kill. "We need to endure. Like the Epilepsy Foundation, I stand with everyone who lives with seizures. The National Walk for Epilepsy is a great example of how we are stronger together as a community."
Since its inception in 2007, the National Walk for Epilepsy has raised almost $8 million to advance access to care, fund research and new therapies, and educate people about seizures and epilepsy. Each year, the event offers new opportunities for people with epilepsy to join a larger community and take charge of their health and lives.
"Living with epilepsy is a daily challenge for individuals and families throughout the country. Many people feel isolated and alone in their quest to find treatments that work," said Philip M. Gattone, president and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation and the father of a child with epilepsy. "But, for at least one day every year, the epilepsy community comes together to remember we are not alone in our journey. For this one day, epilepsy is not as big a burden. We are very thankful that supporters like Rick Harrison and Jerry Kill are lending their voices to our cause. Together, we can make the kind of difference people with epilepsy deserve."
National Walk for Epilepsy participants are encouraged to visit Walker's Village, where partner organizations and sponsors will offer information, giveaways, and an "Ask the Experts" Q&A session with top neurologists. Another added feature of the family-friendly event is the Kids Tent with face-painting and art projects.
The National Walk for Epilepsy is sponsored by Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, Inc; Eisai Inc.; UCB; Cyberonics; Supernus Pharmaceuticals; Upsher-Smith Laboratories; CSC; Lundbeck; Giant; PepsiCo and Bender Consulting Services.
Other invited celebrities this year include actor Greg Grunberg, who is the father of a child with epilepsy and has been a long-time advocate of the Foundation.
For more information or to register for the Walk, please visit www.WalkforEpilepsy.org. Pre-registration is required and costs $35 per adult walker and $20 for each child 12 and under. Those who are unable to join the walkers in Washington, D.C., are encouraged to sign up as a virtual walker and walk in their own communities on March 22.
When a person has two or more unprovoked seizures, they have epilepsy, which affects more than 2 million people in the United States and 65 million people worldwide. This year, another 150,000 people in our country will be diagnosed with epilepsy. Despite all available treatments, four out of 10 people with epilepsy continue to experience uncontrolled seizures while many more experience less than optimal seizure control.
About the Epilepsy Foundation
The Epilepsy Foundation, a national non-profit with 48 affiliated organizations throughout the United States, has led the fight against seizures since 1968. The Foundation is an unwavering ally for individuals and families impacted by epilepsy and seizures. The Foundation works to prevent, control and cure epilepsy through community services; public education; federal and local advocacy; and supporting research into new treatments and therapies. The Foundation works to ensure that people with seizures have the opportunity to live their lives to their fullest potential. For additional information, please visit www.epilepsy.com.
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