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The Mechanics
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Chicago Tue Jun 21 2011

Biden Joins Axelrod to CURE Epilepsy

IMG_6185.JPGFor a few moments Vice President Joe Biden turned a Navy Pier Ballroom into an intimate setting telling the feeling of loss and of hope for better tomorrow.

Nearly 40 years ago Biden lost his wife and one year old daughter in a tragic automobile accident. He recounted a few of the details of the phone call and visit to the hospital in the aftermath. The story served as a bridge towards empathy and the inability to be in control of the safety and well-being of one's own child. Much like having a child with epilepsy.

Susan and David Axelrod's CURE, Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy, organization annual fundraiser brought in roughly $800,000. The bipartisan affair, Senator Mark Kirk and former Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias were spotted trading greetings, seated nearly 900 people. They heard testimony of the day-to-day struggle of family members and those afflicted by epilepsy.

The organization utilizes 92% of the money raised as grants to fund research for a cure, according to CEO Carmita Vaughn. Her own mother suffered from epilepsy and died at the age of 52 after consecutive seizures.

"We all have something to live for. We have a reason for being," said Biden. Axelrod, his wife and a group of dedicated people have reason as well.

David Axelrod, who introduced the vice president, talked about the devastating effect epilepsy has had on his family.

"Each one of us holds out some hope that we can make a breakthrough," Axelrod said before the dinner. "What our goal has been is to seed the kind of research that the government won't yet seed because it's not fully proven."

The Axelrods' eldest daughter Lauren began having seizures at seven months of age.

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