On the NBC show Heroes, Greg Grunberg plays an ordinary guy with
extraordinary powers. In real life, he credits astonishing powers to his
13-year-old son, Jake, who has lived with epilepsy for the past five years.
Epilepsy, a neurological condition that affects 3 million Americans (350,000
of them are children), causes periodic seizures, where the brain produces a
sudden burst of electrical activity. During a seizure, people can shake, stare,
fall down, or even briefly lose consciousness. "To deal with something on a
chronic basis, like I see my son do, that’s heroic," says Grunberg.
Grunberg has been using his superpowers for good, raising awareness and
funding for epilepsy. He’s a spokesperson for the Epilepsy Foundation
(www.epilepsyfoundation.org), and with his charity cover band, Band From TV
(featuring Grunberg on drums, Hugh Laurie on keyboard, Teri Hatcher on vocals,
and others), he’s raised more than $2 million. He also recently chaired the
National Walk for Epilepsy in Washington, D.C.
Greg Grunberg launches epilepsy website
His most recent effort? Launching a web site, www.talkaboutit.org, which he
describes as a MySpace for epilepsy. "We treat epilepsy like something that
should be hidden away, and that shouldn’t be the case," Grunburg stresses. The
site gives people the opportunity to learn about the condition, exchange ideas,
and find support.
It’s taken five years of various medications and even a recent brain
surgery, but now Jake’s EEG (which measures electrical activity in the brain)
is 90% improved. He still takes medication, but his seizures are better
controlled. Today, Jake’s just a regular kid who’s almost a black belt in tae
kwon do, an all-star baseball player, and a role model for brothers Ben, 9, and
Knowledge is the true power, says Grunberg. "We need to remove the stigma
and finally find a cure for this terrible neurological condition."