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Local Forest Lake Family Attends 2014 National Walk For Epilepsy® In Washington, D.C.

MAPLE GROVE, Minn., March 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc. (Upsher-Smith), in partnership with the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota (EFMN), today announced that the Fletcher family from Forest Lake, Minnesota was awarded a sponsorship to attend the Epilepsy Foundation's National Walk for Epilepsy® in Washington, D.C. on March 22, 2014.

Pictured at the 2014 National Walk for Epilepsy(R): Scott Hussey, Sr. Vice President, Sales; Jordan Fletcher; Mary Melby; Callie Fletcher; Eric Hamborg, Vice President, CNS Sales; Rachael Newman; Tyler Melby; Chris Thibodeaux, Sr. Director, Therapeutic Education and Communication; Mark Evenstad, President and CEO

The Fletcher family is all too familiar with seizure disorders. Callie Fletcher, now 14, began experiencing absence seizures—a type of generalized seizures—at age six. Now, with proper medication, her seizures are well-managed. Brother Jordan, 11, has had a tougher road. Beginning with a grand mal seizure—also known as a tonic-clonic seizure—at eighteen months, his condition has grown in intensity and makes it hard for him to live like other sixth graders. Then, just last year, their mother, Rachael Newman, experienced her first seizure. She and her children eagerly anticipated meeting people who shared their experiences when they attended the Walk.

"Callie really enjoyed it, and for Jordan it was a chance to be around kids like him," said Newman. "We are so thankful to Upsher-Smith and the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota for giving us this opportunity."

About the Fletcher Family
Callie Fletcher's absence seizures started so subtly at age six that doctors first thought she had ADHD. Since being properly diagnosed, however, she has been able to manage her condition well with medications. Her brother Jordan presents a more challenging case. Beginning with a grand mal seizure at eighteen months, his seizures remain a significant challenge, leading his mother to try any route available to help her son.

"We've tried meds, we've tried diets, everything," she says. "You name it, we've done it."

This summer, the family will travel to the Mayo Clinic to do some brain mapping to learn more about how Jordan's brain functions1 and talk about possible surgery. In the meantime, Jordan and Callie help each other deal with the challenges they face.

"Having a sibling seems to help in that regard. Both of my kids go out of their way to explain epilepsy to their friends and classmates," Newman says. "They are very vocal, not ashamed at all."

Callie does gymnastics, and was proactive in speaking with her coaches to explain her condition. Newman says the response couldn't have been more positive, and although Callie's coaches are careful, they are happy to have her participate.

"Jordan has to sit out more," says Newman. "School can be tough for him because fifth and sixth graders only understand so much. Last year he was taken out of school by ambulance five or six times."

Despite the difficulty, both Fletcher kids do what they can to spread awareness. Last year, one of Callie's classmates began experiencing seizures. Newman says her daughter was the first to reach out. An estimated 1-in-26 people in the United States will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime.2

"She talked to the girl, gave her our number and told her to have her mother call me, and told her how to get in touch with the Epilepsy Foundation."

Just last year, Rachael herself experienced a seizure, her first, while attending her high school reunion.  "I was mortified, but it was eye opening," she says. "It gave me a better understanding of what Jordan is experiencing. In that way, I was thankful."

She has been seizure-free since, and her doctors are taking a wait and see approach before moving forward with treatment.

Newman says the National Walk for Epilepsy was a highlight for the family.

"Both kids were beyond excited," she says, adding that during a recent hospitalization, Jordan asked if he would still be able to go to the Walk. "It was a bright spot, it gave him something to look forward to."

Both Fletcher children attend the Epilepsy Foundation's Camp Oz every summer, where they are able to connect with other kids who face the same challenges.

"When Jordan gets around kids like him, you can see the walls come down. He's able to be himself."

About the National Walk for Epilepsy®
The National Walk for Epilepsy® is a family oriented, noncompetitive walk in our nation's capital to raise awareness and funds to continue the fight to stop seizures, find a cure and overcome the challenges created by epilepsy through efforts including education, advocacy and research to accelerate ideas into therapies.  The Walk helps to support new and innovative epilepsy therapies and research, develop programs to educate the community, including school nurses, and first responders and to support advocacy efforts against epilepsy-related discrimination and national healthcare reform.

This year marks the eighth anniversary of The National Walk for Epilepsy® in Washington, D.C.  Each year, more than 5,000 people participate in the Walk in support of over two million Americans who live with epilepsy every day as well as their friends and loved ones.  For more information on The National Walk for Epilepsy®, visit: www.walkforepilepsy.org.

About The Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota
The Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota (EFMN) leads the fight to stop seizures, find a cure and overcome the challenges created by epilepsy. One in 10 Americans will have a seizure in their lifetime, and 60,000 Minnesotans have epilepsy, also known as a seizure disorder. This is enough people to fill TCF Bank Stadium beyond its 50,000 seat capacity.  The Foundation's programs and services cover all of Minnesota and Eastern North Dakota. Those interested in any of its programs may contact Vicki Kopplin at 651-287-2314 or via email at [email protected].  To learn more, please visit: www.epilepsyfoundationmn.org.   

About Upsher-Smith
Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc., founded in 1919, is a growing pharmaceutical company dedicated to its mission of Advancing Pharmacotherapy. Improving Life™. With capabilities ranging from early-stage research to delivering on-market products, Upsher-Smith is committed to offering quality products that enable people to live life to its greatest potential. Upsher-Smith's approach to product development and partnering has resulted in a broad range of both branded and generic therapeutic solutions to address patients' needs. The Company has a particular focus on developing therapies for people living with central nervous system (CNS) conditions, such as seizure disorders, and has a robust pipeline of promising CNS compounds in various stages of development. For more information, visit www.upsher-smith.com.

References

1. Epilepsy.com. Available at: http://www.epilepsy.com/epilepsy/surgery_brainmap. Accessed on March 3, 2014.

2. Epilepsy Foundation. Available at: http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/livingwithepilepsy/onein26/index.cfm. Accessed on March 3, 2014.

Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc.

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