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National Expressions of Courage

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Artwork: “A Drop of Warmth in the Midst of Cold”
Artist: Richard Davis, Spring Hill, Fla.
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Richard Davis of Spring Hill, Fla., Selected as Winner of National  Expressions of Courage® Art Contest
Artwork by People with Epilepsy Showcases Talent and Stories of Inspiration
TITUSVILLE, NJ (November 16, 2009) –Epilepsy and seizures affect nearly 3 million Americans of all ages and in 70 percent of new cases, no cause is apparent. Those who live daily with the condition have no way of knowing when the next seizure will occur, how long it will last or where they will be, often experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions as they cope with the condition.  The wonder behind the diagnosis, the perseverance in managing it, and the support received through family and friends are some examples of the stories told through artwork in the 2009 Expressions of Courage® art contest, a national art contest inviting people with epilepsy to submit creative artwork conveying their feelings of living with epilepsy.
Expressions of Courage® is a program developed and funded by Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., in partnership with the Epilepsy Foundation. Today, they recognized Richard Davis, 47, of Spring Hill, Fla., as a winner of the 2009 Expressions of Courage® art contest, which showcases the artistic talent and inspirational stories of people with epilepsy during National Epilepsy Awareness Month, recognized each November.
“Each year I look forward to announcing the Expressions of Courage® contest winners, as each individual has a unique way of demonstrating his or her feelings of living with the condition in a way that words cannot,” said Eric R. Hargis, president and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation. “We are truly proud of the Expressions of Courage® participants for giving a voice for what it’s like to live with epilepsy, standing up and sharing their personal experiences with the public.”
Epilepsy advocates, art industry representatives and healthcare experts, selected Davis’ piece: “A Drop of Warmth in the Midst of Cold,” from several entries. Davis’ artwork will be featured on the Expressions of Courage® Web site.
At age nine Davis was hit by a car and suffered from brain damage. At age 13 he had his first grand mal seizure and was diagnosed with epilepsy. One of Davis’ seizures lasted 22 hours and he temporarily lost the ability to speak and the use of his body. Since then, he’s undergone two brain surgeries, and yet today, the he still suffers from severe seizures.
“The only thing that kept me going was my artwork,” said Davis. “Artwork makes me feel encouraged and like I have a stronger purpose in life.”
Davis has been painting all his life and says that art helps him express his emotions of coping with epilepsy. Davis’ talented and compelling work was recognized in 1985 by President Ronald Reagan and has been on display throughout the nation in conjunction with various arts and disabilities organizations.
Despite the difficulties epilepsy brings, Davis stays positive and wants to bring awareness to epilepsy and teach the public not to shy away from those with epilepsy. He’d also like to teach others how to help a person experiencing a seizure.
To view Davis’ winning artwork and learn about each artist’s personal experience with epilepsy, visit www.ExpressionsofCourage.com. Winners were chosen by a panel of seven judges who based their selections on creativity and the ability to demonstrate feelings of living with epilepsy through art. Panelists included:
· Elizabeth Thiele, MD, PhD, director of the Pediatric Epilepsy Program at Massachusetts General Hospital
· Lillian Fitzgerald, member of the Society for the Arts in Healthcare Board of Directors
· Eric Hargis, Epilepsy Foundation president and CEO
· Jude Rouslin, of Sarasota, Fla., 2005, 2006 and 2008 Expressions of Courage® contest winner, an accomplished oil painter who shares her artwork through various displays
· Pamela Davis of Arcadia, Fla., 2004, 2005 and 2008 Expressions of Courage® contest winner, an accomplished artist who holds a leadership role with the Desoto County Arts and Humanities Council
· Bridget Bobinger, of Cincinnati, Ohio ., 2007 Expressions of Courage® contest winner, holds a masters in Art Education from Xavier University and volunteers frequently in art education
· Walter Danker, PhD, Manager, Professional Education, Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
About Epilepsy
Epilepsy is one of the most common disorders of the nervous system, affecting more than 50 million people worldwide.  As many as 200,000 Americans are diagnosed for the first time each year. Epilepsy produces seizures, which happen when a brief, strong surge of electrical activity affects part or all of the brain. The condition can develop at any time in life, but there is a particular susceptibility in young children and the elderly. Currently, there is no cure for epilepsy; however, medications help control seizure activity in the majority of people with this condition. It is important for people with epilepsy to be proactive in working with their healthcare professionals to determine the most effective treatment plan.
About the Epilepsy Foundation
The Epilepsy Foundation, a national non-profit with affiliated organizations throughout the United States, has led the fight against epilepsy since 1968. The Foundation’s goals are to ensure that people with seizures are able to participate in all life experiences; and prevent, control and cure epilepsy through services, education, advocacy and research, so not another moment is lost to seizures. For additional information, please visit www.epilepsyfoundation.org.
About Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (OMJPI), a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, provides medicines for an array of health concerns, including central nervous system disorders, such as schizophrenia and epilepsy; metabolic diseases, such as diabetes; cardiovascular diseases; women's health; urology; gastrointestinal; and infectious diseases.  The company strives to provide innovative, high quality, safe and effective treatments and continually seeks new opportunities to offer solutions for unmet health care needs. Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is headquartered in Raritan, New Jersey.