Thursday, January 30, 2014

Lily's Luau and Epilepsy Research


Aloha everyone!

That is Hello in Hawaiian! I attended Lily's Luau in Madison this past Saturday, and what a blast it was! Memorial Union South was decorated to the nines, with inflatable flamingos, a couple tiki bars, island d├ęcor, and not to mention, piles of savory coconut shrimp!

I was absolutely blown away by how beautiful the event was, and how many people and businesses came together to donate raffle prizes, services and money to the event every year. I did not count, but it looked like there was more than 100 silent auction items this year.

A new fundraising campaign – The Neuron Project – was also unveiled. In a unique and beautiful combination of art and science, which is made possible thanks to a generous donation by The Boldt Company. The Neuron Project will be installed at the Wisconsin Institute for Medical Research. Small, medium and large neurons will line the hallway at the institute.
The Neuron Project combines art and science to raise funds for epilepsy research

Sponsorships are available in three neuron sizes: small, medium and large. I agreed to sponsor a small neuron for $1,000. Mine was not the only hand that shot up for a sponsorship, there were a number of other people who agreed as well. Just today, I heard from Lily's Luau founder Anne Giroux that ALL the small neuron sponsorships have been sold! What wonderful news!

There are still medium neurons available for $5,000 and large ones available for $10,000. I believe three medium neuron sponsorships were made at the luau, and one woman made a generous donation to sponsors a large one!

Oh, and did I mention, that whether you sponsor a small, medium, or large neuron, 100 percent of the proceeds will be used to fund epilepsy research at UW-Madison. You might be wondering if you read that sentence correctly: yes, you did. EVERY PENNY will be used to further epilepsy research.

Is $5,000 or $10,000 a lot of money? Yes, it is. But you know what, you can pay it over multiple years, and YOU choose how long. For example, $1,000 is a lot for me, a single person, a one-paycheck household. But I opted to sponsor my neuron over two years. That equates to $42 a month, which I CAN do. And the medium neurons are actually ideal for group donations, while the large ones are targeted more toward businesses and organizations.

Although Lily's Luau is a relatively new non-profit, I am blown away at the generosity that has poured in from people wanting to help find a cure for epilepsy! And as someone who was diagnosed with epilepsy at a young age (3 years), I can appreciate all the hard work that they are putting in.

                 Reporters have to hang together: Me (far right) with Sarah Carlson (far left) and the                            WISC-TV 3 news team, including Susan Siman (to my left).
I had a sleep-deprived EEG yesterday (Jan. 29, 2014) and am awaiting results. My neurologist, Dr. Rama Maganti, thinks I am a good candidate to go off my medication, and that I might possibly have outgrown my epilepsy. I am trying not to get too excited – it is quite difficult – but I am praying for good news when the results come in.

If you would like to learn more about the epilepsy research being done at the UW-Madison, or are interested in purchasing a neuron, please contact lilysfund@gmail.com. They also have awesome T-shirts for sale that say “The War Against Epilepsy Will Be Waged in Coconut Bras.” I love mine!