Thursday, March 7, 2013

Time=Lives Story of the Week: Phil Gattone

"There really isn't much logic in sending your child to brain surgery, but we did. Because we knew we were losing him."

President and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation, Phil Gattone, and his wife Jill began the fight for their son Phillip’s life in 1991 after he suffered his first seizure at the age of four that lasted almost an hour and landed him in the emergency room.

“It was a researcher who we probably will never know who helped well before our son started having seizures,” said Phil. “Because of the tremendous efforts of his clinicians and those researchers, there was a sense of hope.” 

Now in his mid-20s, Phillip is a software engineer at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems and is able to effectively manage his epilepsy.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, epilepsy affects 2.2 million Americans and 65 million people worldwide. Approximately 1 in 26 people in the United States will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime, with an aging baby boomer generation reaching retirement age the number of citizens with the disorder is predicted to grow.

Advances in treatment for epilepsy have provided a functionally normal life for people like Phillip, but despite how common it is, epilepsy remains one of the least understood chronic medical conditions. While medications and other treatments help many people of all ages who live with the condition, more than a million people continue to have seizures that can severely limit their school achievements, employment prospects and participation in all of life's experiences

Research is the key to the future for people with hard to control seizures, and the trajectory of epilepsy – and other disease for which there are no cures – depends on attracting the best scientific minds and funding innovative clinical investigation. The science is promising, but without continued support and resources, we risk patients like Phillip falling by the wayside.

To learn more about the Epilepsy Foundation and get involved in their work, go to

And check out the Time=Lives campaign to find out what you can do to help speed the medical research process by participating in a clinical trial, sharing your story, or simply spreading the message that medical research must be a national priority.

-- VISIT the campaign Web site
-- LIKE the Facebook page
-- TWEET with us at #TimeEqLives
-- DOWNLOAD and SHARE the Message
-- TELL us your story

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