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People with Epilepsy Encouraged to Submit Artwork as Part of National Expressions of Courage(R) Art Contest

Contest Celebrates Talents and Strengths of Those Living with Epilepsy

TITUSVILLE, N.J., March 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Art is an essential part of the human experience. It has the ability to relay our deepest feelings with mere flicks of a paintbrush, or through simple pencil strokes. For people with epilepsy, art can be a valuable way to communicate their innermost thoughts of living with this serious neurological condition.

The sixth annual Expressions of Courage(R) national art contest, sponsored by ORTHO-McNEIL NEUROLOGICS(R), Division of Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc, in partnership with the Epilepsy Foundation, provides people with epilepsy the opportunity to showcase their talents and their perspectives of the world around them through art. In addition, the contest helps raise awareness of epilepsy and eliminate the stigma often associated with the condition -- as epilepsy does not define who people are, it is simply a condition they live with.

The contest kicked off at the National Walk for Epilepsy on March 29 in Washington, D.C., and is open through July 16, 2008, to all Americans diagnosed with epilepsy. A panel of epilepsy advocates and art industry representatives will serve as contest judges and will announce the winning artwork in September. Winning entries will be selected based on creativity and the ability to demonstrate feelings of living with epilepsy through art.

"By participating in the Expressions of Courage art contest, Carly is able to pursue her love of arts and crafts while gaining a sense of satisfaction and pride that she doesn't easily find in many activities," explained Kelly Richards of Westmont, Ill., mother of a past contest winner. "The contest is a meaningful and positive experience for Carly, and she looks forward to creating her entry each year."

Artwork may be created in ink, pencil, crayon, paint or a combination of these materials and must be on paper or board no larger than 8 1/2 by 11 inches. Multiple pieces of artwork will be accepted. Entry forms should be downloaded from the contest Web site,, and mailed to: Expressions of Courage, c/o ORTHO-McNEIL NEUROLOGICS, 389 Pittstown Road, Pittstown, NJ 08867. Contest entries will be categorized into three age groups: children ages 12 years old and younger; teens age 13 to 17; and adults 18 years of age and older.

Winning artwork will be featured on the contest Web site and either in 2009 calendars or coffee table books available in local Epilepsy Foundation offices and select physician offices nationwide. Also, a few winning pieces may be chosen by curators from the Society for the Arts in Healthcare for display in a traveling art exhibition comprised of nearly 30 winning entries from the past five contests. The exhibition aims to enhance public awareness of epilepsy by traveling to medical centers across the nation. The artwork is accompanied by the artists' stories of how epilepsy has impacted their lives in various ways. Visit the contest Web site to learn more about the exhibition and find an exhibition location near you.

"The people who participate in the Expressions of Courage contest are advocates for increasing awareness about epilepsy, in that they creatively use their talents and selflessly share their personal feelings for the benefit of educating others," said Eric R. Hargis, president and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation. "We recognize their bravery, appreciate their unique and beautiful artwork, and hope that other people are inspired to speak out about their own experiences of living with epilepsy."

Epilepsy is one of the most common disorders of the nervous system, affecting approximately 50 million people worldwide with as many as 200,000 Americans diagnosed for the first time each year. Epilepsy produces seizures, which happen when a brief, strong surge of electrical activity affects part or all of the brain. The condition can develop at any time in life, but there is a particular susceptibility in young children and the elderly. Currently, there is no cure for epilepsy; however, seizure medications help control seizure activity in the majority of people with this condition.

To learn more about Expressions of Courage, the traveling exhibition and to download Expressions of Courage entry forms, please visit, or call the Contest Help Line at 800-224-4935 with questions.

About the Epilepsy Foundation

The Epilepsy Foundation, a national non-profit with affiliated organizations throughout the United States, has led the fight against epilepsy since 1968. The Foundation's goals are to ensure that people with seizures are able to participate in all life experiences; and prevent, control and cure epilepsy through services, education, advocacy and research, so not another moment is lost to seizures. For additional information, please visit


Headquartered in Titusville, N.J., ORTHO-McNEIL NEUROLOGICS focuses exclusively on providing solutions that improve neurological health. The company currently markets products for Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, and acute and preventive migraine treatment. ORTHO-McNEIL NEUROLOGICS, in conjunction with internal and external research partners, continues to explore new opportunities to develop solutions for unmet healthcare needs in neurology.

Krystal Loewe Kara Russell


(312) 729-4453 (609) 730-3592

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