Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=163213
Story Retrieval Date: 10/20/2014 9:10:04 PM CST

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Katie Couric addresses a crowd of more than 800 people at the annual Chicago benefit for Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy.


CBS’ Katie Couric, Axelrod family celebrate milestone year for epilepsy

by Fahiemah Al-Ali and Jordan K. Turgeon
April 20, 2010


A year of escalating public awareness and record-breaking fundraising gave Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy reason to celebrate at an annual Chicago benefit, held at the Field Museum Friday.

More than 800 guests attended as CURE chair and co-founder Susan Axelrod awarded CBS’ Katie Couric the 2010 CURE Excellence in Journalism Award.

“This is a disease that has been around since biblical times,” Couric said. “It’s maddening to me and needless to say, to so many of you, that more attention hasn’t been paid – but of course, we’re starting to change that.”

Susan and husband David Axelrod, White House senior adviser, told their family's story to Couric in an October 2009 “60 Minutes” segment. Their oldest child, Lauren, 28, was diagnosed with epilepsy at just seven months old. 

Some 14 million viewers watched the original “60 Minutes” airing, which helped promote awareness of a disease that, according to the Axelrods, has been overlooked in the national spotlight for too long.

Susan estimated over $730,000 was raised prior to Friday’s benefit, and said CURE hoped to reach its goal of $1 million by the week’s end.

“Never before has the public will been so strong, and never before has the science been so primed and ready to explode,” Susan Axelrod said. “At long last, epilepsy truly has taken center stage.”

Stay tuned for full coverage and photos on Medill Reports Wednesday.