UCB Shines a Spotlight on the Trials and Triumphs of Living with Epilepsy with the “My Four Words” Project
ATLANTA, April 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — On March 31, an estimated 5,000 people impacted by epilepsy rallied together on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. at the Epilepsy Foundation’s National Walk for Epilepsy. It was here that UCB, “The Epilepsy Company” and silver sponsor of the event, debuted the “My Four Words” project, challenging attendees to express their personal journey with epilepsy in just four words. The “My Four Words” project generated buzz and spurred conversation about a condition that is often misunderstood. Caregivers, friends and family members also contributed their four words to the project.
UCB was represented by a team of 50, further demonstrating their commitment to the epilepsy community. In addition to the “My Four Words” project, UCB provided participants with information about patient programs that include Epilepsy Advocate(TM), Canine Assistants and the UCB Epilepsy Family Scholarship Program(TM).
“My four words were, ‘STARTED A SUPPORT GROUP’ – the first ever in Nebraska for people with epilepsy, in fact,” said Heather Overton, Epilepsy Advocate. “Shortly after graduating college, I was so excited by my newfound freedom that I wanted to share my experience with others. I often tell my group, which has grown to over 30 members, how I’ve worked with my epileptologist to find a treatment plan that works for me.”
The 20 Advocates and hundreds of people living with epilepsy who shared their stories in four words represented the nearly three million people in the U.S. living with this chronic neurological disorder.(1) Epilepsy occurs across all ages, races and genders and is defined as two or more unprovoked seizures. Seizures are caused by abnormal electrical signals from the brain that can result in changes in attention or behavior.(2)
Although seizures can be disruptive and debilitating, the four word stories offered hope that more is possible. They communicated challenges and triumphs, expressed the importance of raising awareness, honored loved ones and inspired those living with epilepsy to continue striving for seizure control.
“UCB is dedicated to helping those with epilepsy realize more may be possible, and the ‘My Four Words’ project is yet another important step in our ongoing commitment to empowering people to speak out and change the way the condition is perceived,” said Sue Curro, Vice President, UCB Patient Solutions. “We were thrilled to see the great outpouring of emotion the project inspired at the National Walk for Epilepsy.”
The Epilepsy Foundation’s National Walk for Epilepsy is in its sixth year and was established to raise awareness and overcome the challenges created by epilepsy. This year’s turnout was the biggest to date, and attendees further supported the cause by participating in the “My Four Words” project.
“The ‘My Four Words’ project was a great way to ignite dialogue about a condition that is too often silenced,” said Former Rep. Tony Coelho (D-Calif.), interim CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation. “The National Walk for Epilepsy brought people together and inspired attendees, and the nation, to talk about epilepsy and the importance of seizure control.”
To view these personal stories, images from the walk, and to learn more about seizures and epilepsy, visit www.facebook.com/EpilepsyAdvocate.
Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder affecting approximately 50 million people worldwide and three million people in the U.S. Anyone can develop epilepsy; it occurs across all ages, races and genders. Uncontrolled seizures and medication side effects pose challenges to independent living, learning and employment, so the goal of epilepsy treatment is seizure freedom with minimal side effects. More than one million patients in the U.S. continue to have seizures despite initial therapy, and more than one million in the U.S. continue to have seizures despite treatment with two or more therapies. New medications and treatments give hope to those living with uncontrolled seizures.(1,3)
About Epilepsy Advocate(TM)
Created by UCB in 2006, the Epilepsy Advocate(TM) program offers opportunities to learn more about epilepsy and how to manage the condition. Epilepsy Advocates are people living with epilepsy and caregivers who share their success stories with a goal of inspiring individuals in the epilepsy community to seek the best possible care and make positive changes in their lives.
To date, over 15,000 people impacted by epilepsy have connected with Epilepsy Advocates at more than 300 live programs across the U.S. Additionally, EpilepsyAdvocate.com and Facebook.com/EpilepsyAdvocate offer a wide variety of resources, including an engaging online radio program and motivational videos, for anyone looking for more information about epilepsy. Epilepsy Advocate magazine is also widely read in the epilepsy community, with a readership of 100,000. Request a free subscription.
Epilepsy Advocate(TM) is a trademark of the UCB group of companies.
UCB, Brussels, Belgium (www.ucb.com) is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative medicines and solutions to transform the lives of people living with severe diseases of the immune system or of the central nervous system. With more than 8,000 people in about 40 countries, the company generated revenue of EUR 3.2 billion in 2011. UCB is listed on Euronext Brussels (symbol: UCB).
 Epilepsy Foundation. About Epilepsy. http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/about/statistics.cfm. Accessed February 24, 2012.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Epilepsy. http://www.cdc.gov/Epilepsy. Accessed June 8, 2011.
 Epilepsy Foundation. Treatment. http://epilepsyfoundation.org/aboutepilepsy/treatment/index.cfm. Accessed February 24, 2012.