Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Reducing the Stigma Surrounding Epilepsy - Art Contest Announced

(ARA) - Some of history’s most creative minds, including Vincent van Gogh, Ludwig Beethoven, Leo Tolstoy and Lewis Carroll, are believed to have had epilepsy. Today, one in 10 adults will have a seizure at some point in his or her life and more than 3 million people in the United States have epilepsy.

Epilepsy produces seizures, which happen when a brief, strong surge of electrical activity affects part or all of the brain. Seizures can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. They can appear as convulsions or loss of consciousness as well as blank staring, lip smacking, or jerking movements of arms and legs. Currently, there is no known cure for epilepsy; however, there are several treatment options, including antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), surgery, the ketogenic diet and vagus nerve stimulation (VNS).

While treatments have evolved and today the majority of epilepsy patients can control their seizures with medication, art continues to be a valuable outlet for people with this common neurological condition.

Now in its sixth year, the “Expressions of Courage” national art contest provides people with epilepsy the opportunity to showcase their talents and their perspectives on living with epilepsy through art. In addition, the contest helps raise awareness of epilepsy and eliminate the stigma often associated with the condition.

ORTHO-McNEIL NEUROLOGICS, Division of Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc, in partnership with the Epilepsy Foundation, invites people of all ages with epilepsy to submit artwork for this year’s contest. The contest is open now through August 29, 2008. A panel of epilepsy advocates and art industry representatives serve as judges and will announce the winning artwork in September. Winning entries will be selected based on creativity and the ability to demonstrate feelings of living with epilepsy through art.

“By participating in the ‘Expressions of Courage’ art contest, Carly is able to pursue her love of arts and crafts while gaining a sense of satisfaction and pride that she doesn’t easily find in many activities,” explains Kelly Richards of Westmont, Ill., mother of a past contest winner. “The contest is a meaningful and positive experience for Carly, and she looks forward to creating her entry each year.”

Artwork may be created in ink, pencil, crayon, paint or a combination of these materials and must be on paper or board no larger than 8 1/2 by 11 inches. Multiple submissions of artwork will be accepted. Send original artwork and a completed entry form to:

Expressions of Courage
389 Pittstown Road
Pittstown, NJ 08867

Winning artwork will be featured on the contest Web site, www.expressionsofcourage.com, and either in 2009 calendars or coffee table books available in local Epilepsy Foundation offices and select physician offices nationwide. Also, a few winning pieces may be chosen by curators from the Society for the Arts in Healthcare for display in a traveling art exhibition comprised of nearly 30 winning entries from the past five contests. The exhibition aims to enhance public awareness of epilepsy by traveling to medical centers across the nation. The artwork is accompanied by the artists’ stories of how epilepsy has impacted their lives in various ways. Visit the contest Web site to learn more about the exhibition and find an exhibition location near you.

“The people who participate in the ‘Expressions of Courage’ contest are advocates for increasing awareness about epilepsy in that they creatively use their talents and selflessly share their personal feelings for the benefit of educating others,” says Eric Hargis, president and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation. “We recognize their bravery, appreciate their unique and beautiful artwork, and hope that other people are inspired to speak out about their own experiences of living with epilepsy.”

To learn more about “Expressions of Courage,” the traveling exhibition and to download entry forms, please visit www.expressionsofcourage.com, or call the Contest Help Line at (800) 224-4935.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

No comments: