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Epilepsy Blog Relay: Danny Did Foundation on SUDEP

Tom Stanton, President, Danny Did Foundation

Raising awareness of SUDEP

The Danny Did Foundation (DDF) was founded by Chicagoans Mike and Mariann Stanton in 2010 after the death of their four-year-old son Danny to Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP). Since that time the Foundation has worked tirelessly toward its mission to prevent deaths caused by seizures with these main goals in mind:

  1. Advancing public awareness of Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP)
  2. Enhancing SUDEP education and disclosure between medical professionals and families afflicted by seizures
  3. Enhancing the mainstreaming of seizure detection and prediction devices that may assist in preventing seizure-related deaths

What is SUDEP

Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) is when a seemingly healthy person with epilepsy dies unexpectedly and no clear reason for the death can be determined. In most cases, an autopsy is required to rule out other causes of death. The most common criteria used to determine whether a death is due to SUDEP are:

  • The person has epilepsy, which is defined as recurrent unprovoked seizures.
  • The person died unexpectedly while in a reasonable state of health.
  • The death occurred suddenly and during normal activity (often during sleep).
  • An obvious medical cause of death could not be determined at autopsy.
  • The death was not the direct result of status epilepticus.

Epilepsy impacts more than 3.4 million people in the United States – more people than ever before, per the CDC – and at least 65 million people worldwide. Thousands of U.S. deaths occur annually from SUDEP, and estimated 50,000 deaths occur worldwide each year due to SUDEP, status epilepticus (prolonged seizures), and other seizure-related causes such as drowning and other accidents.

Journal article on SUDEP

Epilepsy Device Grants

The Foundation provides resources and immediate support, often related to education or funding for seizure detection devices. To date, DDF has provided grants to enable seizure alerting devices across all 50 states and 15 countries. If you are seeking funds to help with the cost of a device to help manage your epilepsy, review and research the product options listed on their website, and then complete their application. Note: the DDF does not provide funding support for every system.

Danny Did Foundation Grant Application: click here

Remember that a submission of an application does not equal a guarantee of funding. If you have questions, contact us at kgaughan@dannydid.org.

Epilepsy Awareness Day at DisneyLand Grants

Each year the Danny Did Foundation offers a lottery for Epilepsy Awareness Day at DisneyLand grants to families that need financial assistance to attend. Please visit https://www.dannydid.org to watch for more information.

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Founder and CEO Jessica brings a unique perspective to this leading epilepsy blog as she was diagnosed with epilepsy as a teen. She also brings 20+ years experience in marketing.

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