Event fighting epilepsy more tuneful this year

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On June 15, guests at this year’s Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy fund-raiser will enjoy a musical evening with a legendary singer-songwriter. Carole King will serenade partygoers with chart-topping selections from her musical career including “It’s Too Late” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” as part of the evening in celebration of CURE’s progress in fighting epilepsy.

With a goal of raising $1 million, the uplifting soiree will aid in funding research to cure epilepsy and other neurological diseases.

This year’s co-chairs are William M. Daley and CURE founder Susan Axelrod. Cause & Event chatted with Daley about the rocking event and the mission of CURE.

Q. Tell me about CURE and its mission.

A. CURE is a relatively young organization in the vast sea of non-profits. It is important because epilepsy for many, many years has been in the shadows and not talked about. It is also pushed to the back of the line when it comes to funding. This is hard to believe due to the fact that 1 in every 26 people will suffer some form of it in their lifetime. This in turn has an enormous cost to the U.S. economy at $15.5 billion a year. Many organizations that work with epilepsy focus on controlling it and making it manageable. CURE, however, believes it is important to research why and how epilepsy occurs, reaching for the goal of curing it altogether.

Q. The event sounds like it’s going to be an amazing night, with great entertainment.

A. From the years I have participated, each year has gotten better and more interesting. This is the first year we are having a live performer, Carole King. We are proud to welcome such a legend in music to our event and we’re lucky that she has decided to elevate our cause with her talent and personal support. Overall, it will be a Friday night of fun!

Q. And many of the guests have been impacted by CURE, I hear.

A. Yes, the party aspect is always fun, but there is something more. The guests that attend are families that have experienced the disease, but they don’t come to remember the pain of the illness, they come to celebrate the cutting-edge research. There is a great feeling throughout the entire event for, not only the impacted families, but every single guest.

Q. What programs are funded by this event?

A. The majority of the funds will go to cutting-edge research to cure epilepsy, as well as towards a new research initiative to find a cure for infantile spasms – a particularly devastating form of epilepsy. CURE also supports research about forms of epilepsy resulting from traumatic brain injury from combat and sports. Many men and women returning from service in Iraq and Afghanistan are coming home with severe brain injuries, which cause many debilitating symptoms such as seizures. This is why the study of the brain is so important; it affects everyone and could help so many.

Q. Who can we expect to see at the CURE event this year?

A. Out of the 900 expected guests, many will be family members with personal connections to epilepsy. The event is also supported by many political and business leaders, as well as our founders, David and Susan Axelrod. Over the years we have had well-known figures in attendance such as Dick Durbin, Tom Brokaw and Vice President Joe Biden. Join us to celebrate life and help us end epilepsy!

The Sun-Times is a media sponsor of the event.

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