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Class Act Badgers Receive Huge Response

Billboards urged Madison-area commuters to participate.

For people whose lives have been touched by epilepsy, UW-Madison’s demonstration of support elicited heartfelt reactions.

LéAndrea M. Vernon, a UW-Madison alumna (BS ’07, MS ’14) who works on campus as an outreach and recruitment management specialist, felt proud that her university is conducting research on a disorder that affects her life.

“I was diagnosed with a seizure disorder at age 8. I have had every form of seizures beginning with febrile as an infant/toddler and then grand-mal and complex partial,” says Vernon. “It is important to spread awareness to those who are uninformed about epilepsy and to share information about the need for more research funding to help us find a cure.”


Facebook post of our “1 in 26” video

Minnesota resident and Badger alumnus Mark McCubbin (BS, ’07) also felt a strong sense of pride seeing his alma mater launch such a campaign.

“Some of my friends know that I have epilepsy, some might not. It’s not something I hide, but since I didn’t have any seizures until well into my 20s and I’ve been seizure free for around a decade, it’s not something that always comes up,” McCubbin posted on Facebook.

“But as a UW-Madison alum, I was very pleased to see this PSA, and hear that they ran it during the big Wisconsin vs. Minnesota game today. I am ‪#‎1in26‬.”

Others posted their reactions on Facebook:

  • Thanks…As a mom with a child with epilepsy, this means so much!” – Michelle Gagner-Witte
  • “I am very touched by all the activities today. If each person who learned something new today tells another person, we can spread the message further.” – April Pitts
  • “Today reminded me how compassionate people are–that together we really can make a difference fighting this condition that affects so many of us.” – Anna Vemer Andrzejewski 
  • “Epilepsy can be such a hidden disease. I have been so blessed my entire life to have such amazing family and friends. I have now been seizure-free for 13 years and I am so lucky to be able to drive my kids to school, drive to work and have a normal life like everyone else. I will be at the game on Saturday wearing my purple epilepsy shirt!” – Cammi Blackman Gates
  • My sister and her daughter have epilepsy, and this meant the world to us. I’ve never seen so much support for epilepsy in my life. Thank you so much for all your hard work to make this possible!” – Jackie Pozza
  •  ”You created the biggest buzz I have seen thus far in our two-year journey with my son’s epilepsy. Thank you very much for your hard work and for raising epilepsy awareness to a new level.” – Amylynne Santiago Volker
  • “We watched from home and it was awesome to see everyone spreading the word! This means so much to me since my little sister and son both have epilepsy… I just want to say thank you to everyone who had a part in this!” – Karley Lemke

The campaign was announced in late October by UW Athletics, with Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen saying, “We are honored to be able to help raise awareness of the effects of epilepsy and the research needs associated with it.”

“It was wonderful to see the Badger red student section waving purple bandannas in honor of epilepsy awareness,’’ says Dr. Rama Maganti, professor of neurology and an epilepsy expert at UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. “It helps people with epilepsy and their families know that they are not alone.”


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