WSU Alumni Team With Active And Former NFL Players To Support Leon Bender Foundation

Oct. 24, 2002

Mike & Liz Johnson donate home for auction; proceeds will support the Leon Bender Epilepsy Foundation and Scholarship to honor former Washington State University player Leon Bender. Governor issues proclamation for Epilepsy Awareness Day; WSU Head Coach Mike Price, Lomas Brown lend weight to the fight.

ATLANTA, Ga. - Washington State University alumni Mike & Liz Johnson are joining the efforts of active and retired NFL players in an effort to support epilepsy research and awareness.

'When Mike & Liz joined our team it positioned us to enhance our opportunity for success in attaining the goals we have set for epilepsy awareness,' said Gary Burley, former NFL player and Executive Director of the Leon Bender Foundation (lbf). 'Not only are they great Coug's but they listened to the needs of children with epilepsy and responded with a helping hand.

'Last year we sponsored our first epilepsy research initiative with Emory University Medical Center, one of our three research partners. This year, the gift from Mike & Liz is a dream come true,' Burley added. 'Although epilepsy afflicts people of all ages, children are especially affected because the unpredictability of seizures has a negative impact on sociological and psychological development. In the U.S., epilepsy affects more than 2.5 million people, the majority of whom are children, and is responsible for 42,000 deaths per year. Mike & Liz's support is yet another endorsement of the valuable work that lbf is doing to improve the quality of life for people with epilepsy.'

Mike Price, Lomas Brown, NFL Players Remember Their Fellow Player

'Leon was a fantastic person and played a significant role in the history of Cougar Football.' said WSU Head Football Coach Mike Price. 'While there can be no substitute for having him here with us, the creation of this endowment means that other students will know what he meant to this program and can benefit his legacy.'

To raise awareness of epilepsy and to help the foundation mobilize much-needed resources for epilepsy research, lbf has drafted a host of active and retired NFL players, including: Tony Dorsett, Bill Maas, Isaac Curtis, William Andrews, Willie Anderson and Lomas Brown, offensive tackle for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

'I have two family members with epilepsy,' said Brown. 'I've seen firsthand the devastating effects a seizure can have on a child. I think it's very important to educate people and raise awareness about this potentially life-threatening disease. I believe in the mission of the Leon Bender Foundation and lend my complete support to bringing epilepsy awareness to the forefront.'

The Honorable Governor Gary Locke of the state of Washington has issued a proclamation for the Leon Bender Epilepsy Awareness Day, Nov. 9. The proclamation will be read prior to the game between the Cougars and Oregon.

Colony Homes' donation for auction proceeds will benefit the lbf and WSU Scholarship honoring former player Leon Bender

Colony Homes has been building with integrity and a commitment to their customers for over 25 years. Founded in 1975 in Atlanta, Ga., Colony expanded to North Carolina and was recently named to Builders magazines top 100 builders in the United States. Co-Chairman & Washington State University alumnus Mike Johnson and wife Liz donated a home for auction to the Leon Bender Foundation. Proceeds from the auction will support the efforts of the foundation and establish a scholarship at WSU to honor fallen player Leon Bender. The scholarship will be presented at a halftime ceremony at the WSU-Oregon football game, Nov. 9.

About lbf

The Leon Bender Foundation (lbf), whose mission is to enhance the quality of life for children with epilepsy, was created in 1998 in memory of Washington State football star Leon Bender. Bender died as the result of an epileptic seizure just two weeks after signing with the Oakland Raiders. Bender's sports agent, Terry Bolar, and former NFL player Gary Burley founded the lbf in his honor. For more information about epilepsy, the Leon Bender Foundation or how to make a donation, please visit (email -
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