Did you know that epilepsy affects more people than multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s Disease COMBINED…. and funding is less than half of any one of them? Did you know that one-third of people with epilepsy cannot control their seizures with medicine? And did you know that one in 26 people will develop epilepsy during their lifetime?
One of these 26 is a teenage girl named Lily. With these facts as our motivation and Lily as our inspiration, Lily’s Fund began working to bring epilepsy out of the shadows and into the spotlight in hopes of more investment in research.
The fund was established in 2007 at the University of Wisconsin Foundation through a gift from the Giroux family, in honor of their daughter, Lily. It began as an annual award given to a faculty or staff member whose work on epilepsy research was especially noteworthy.
In 2010, as momentum, volunteers and funds grew, Lily’s Fund announced a new goal – to jointly fund a research fellowship in the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. This new position, focused exclusively on epilepsy-related science, would bring bright young scientists to UW who would advance important epilepsy research.
In January of 2011, Lily’s Fund announced the funds had been raised for this position, and the first-ever Lily’s Fund Fellowship competition was posted! Dr. Richard Moss, SMPH Senior Associate Dean for Basic Research, Biotechnology and Graduate Studies, is coordinating the fellowship competition. A selection committee of outstanding scientists and clinicians was appointed to choose the Lily’s Fund Fellow. “Support from Lily’s Fund is a remarkable opportunity for a scientist to embark on a career in the field of epilepsy research,” said Dr. Moss.
From 2011-2012, Dr. Elizabeth Hutchinson served as the first Lily’s Fund Fellow, pursuing her research to find markers in the brain that can predict epilepsy. Beth’s move to Washington, D.C. prompted the call for applications for the next Lily’s Fund Fellow for 2013.
Also in 2012, Lily’s Fund, with the help of a newly appointed scientific advisory committee, created a strategic vision for Lily’s Fund and future epilepsy research at UW-Madison. Stay tuned as we update you on our progress.
In 2013, Lily’s Fund announced the appointment of the second Lily’s Fund Fellow, Brandon Wright, as well as a new funding initiative, Grace Grants.
In just five years, Lily’s Fund for Epilepsy Research has grown tremendously. Volunteers, donors, businesses…all have rallied around the cause and the need to support funding for more research. If you haven’t already, come join us.
For more information on Lily’s Fund, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org