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California Youth Shares Epilepsy Message on Capitol Hill
Date:3/23/2009

WASHINGTON, March 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nicholas Blanco of San Diego, CA, will travel to Washington, D.C., Sunday, March 29 through Tuesday, March 31, 2009 to meet with congressional leaders and gain their support for epilepsy public health programs and more research toward a cure for epilepsy.

Blanco, 7, is one of 37 young people from across the country participating in Kids Speak Up!, a national program coordinated by the Epilepsy Foundation and funded by Abbott Laboratories. The program rallies young ambassadors with epilepsy between the ages of 7 and 16 to personally petition congressional leaders for aid in assuring better access to care, improved public education and more research toward a cure for epilepsy.

"Nicholas was selected to participate in Kids Speak Up! to represent the approximately 350,000 children under the age of 15 who are affected by the condition," said Eric Hargis, president and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation. "He is an ideal candidate because of his willingness to speak openly about his experiences with epilepsy despite the many challenges he's had to overcome. His courage is an inspiration to us all."

Epilepsy is the most common neurological condition in children and the third most common in adults after stroke and Alzheimer's disease. Despite modern therapy, about one million people in the U.S. continue to experience seizures or significant side effects from treatment for their epilepsy.

Epilepsy imposes an annual economic burden of $15.5 billion on the nation in associated health care costs and losses in employment, wages and productivity.

For further information about epilepsy or to speak with the Blanco family, please contact Kisha James at 301-918-3768 or e-mail kjames@efa
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SOURCE Epilepsy Foundation
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