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Rhode Island Youth Named National Epilepsy Spokesperson

Friday, March 14, 2008 General News J E 4
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Joseph Fontaine to Visit Washington, D.C., and Meet with Elected Officials



WASHINGTON, March 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Joseph Fontaine of Pawtucket, R.I. , will travel to Washington, D.C., this April 1 to meet with congressional leaders and gain their support for restoration of the Americans with Disabilities Act, support for epilepsy public health programs and more research toward a cure for epilepsy.



Fontaine, 16, is one of 50 young people with epilepsy participating in Kids Speak Up!, a national program coordinated by the Epilepsy Foundation with support from Abbott. The program rallies young ambassadors with epilepsy between the ages of 7 and 16 to advocate for the more than 3 million Americans living with the condition.



"Joseph was selected to participate in Kids Speak Up! to represent the approximately 350,000 children under the age of 17 who are affected by the condition. He is an ideal candidate because of his desire to achieve his goals despite his challenges. Joseph's courage is an inspiration to us all," said Eric R. Hargis, President and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation.



This year's participants are a diverse group ranging from those with controlled seizures to those who are massively affected by their epilepsy. Despite their individual challenges, the kids enjoy doing ordinary things, so when they come to D.C., besides meeting with their leaders, they will be treated to a magic show featuring award-winning magician Bradley Fields and meet Mighty Mike Simmel, an entertainment basketball player of the world famous Harlem Wizards. Simmel, who also has epilepsy, inspires young people to follow their dreams despite their obstacles.



Epilepsy is the most common neurological condition in children and each year approximately 45,000 children under age 17 are diagnosed with the disorder. Despite modern therapy, about one million people in the U.S. continue to experience seizures or significant side effects from treatment for their epilepsy.



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 http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org.



About Abbott

Abbott is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical products, including nutritionals, devices and diagnostics. The company employs more than 60,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries.





SOURCE Epilepsy Foundation
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