Athletes vs Epilepsy is a nationwide program for athletes, coaches, volunteers and fans to assist raise awareness and funds to assist Epilepsy the Foundation’s mission to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives. The initiative will bring awareness in all sports through participation by athletes of all ages and skill levels as well as their supportive friends, family and fans.
Epilepsy is Not Rare:
- 1 in 26 will develop Epilepsy (multiple unprovoked seizures) in their lifetime
- Nearly 3 million people have Epilepsy in the United States
- More people suffer from Epilepsy than the number of those affected by other neuro-disorders=combined. Yet Epilepsy receives less than $2 of federal funding per person compared to Muscular Dystrophy $1,147 per person -40,000 affected, Multiple Sclerosis funding of $100 per person -350,000 people affected and Parkinson's disease $65 per person -1,000,000 people affected
- 65 million: Number of people around the world who have epilepsy
ABOUT JEFF KLAUK
My journey with Epilepsy started in June 2006 at a Web.com Tour professional golf event in Knoxville, TN. I was tied for 15th entering the weekend and I had a tonic clonic seizure on that Friday night and was forced to withdraw from the tournament. One out of 26 of us will develop epilepsy (multiple unprovoked seizures) in our lifetime. So when I had my second seizure about two months later at another Web.com event it was time to get treatment for my seizures. I began seeing a neurologist here in Jacksonville, FL and tried lots of different medications. Finally, I was able to get my tonic clonic seizures under control. After being diagnosed with Epilepsy, Purple became one of my favorite colors as it is the color of Epilepsy.
With my seizures under control, in 2008 I was able to accomplish a dream of earning my PGA Tour card by finishing third on the Web.com money list. Playing on the PGA Tour in 2009 was fantastic and my game was great. I had three fourth place finishes and was able to play in The Players Championship which was a lifelong dream. I grew up playing the TPC Sawgrass course as my dad, Fred, was the golf course superintendent.
I sustained an injury to my ankle in 2010 so my season was cut short and on December 24, 2010 I started having another type of seizure called complex partial seizures. They are seizures that last 1 to 2 minutes where you lose consciousness for a short period, and I would generally pop right back feeling OK but wondering what just happened.
No medicine was controling my complex partial seizures, so in 2012 I decided to have brain surgery at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta with the hopes of locating where my seizures were coming from in the brain and have that area removed. I was in the hospital for 23 days but we weren't able to precisely determine the area where the seizures were originating. I finally found a medicine called Vimpat that helped control my seizures after several more tries with other medications.
Recently in August 2016, I had a break-through seizure again. Just when you think things are improved with controlling your seizures, it can change the next day. So it's back to no driving until you can be seizure free for 6 months. I can't thank all my family and friends enough for their support and help through the years. Battling any problem is all about the support you have and I'm so fortunate to have my parents, wife Shanna's family and countless number of friends nearby.
I recently transitioned from a 16-year professional playing career to a role with Perfect Golf Event as the Manager of Tournaments and events for the new digital platform designed for charitable and sponsored golf tournament organizers, enabling them to raise more money for their causes.
Having played in many pro-ams through the years as a professional, I know how important fundraising events are for individual and corporate causes. Since I have Epilepsy and want to help raise funds for the Epilepsy Foundation and other causes, I understand how vital it is to be prepared for events so that organizations can raise the most money for their charitable initiative. There is a growing demand for this kind of service, and being involved with Perfect Golf Event is intriguing because it allows me to stay involved in golf and help others.
To learn more about Perfect Golf Event, go to perfectgolfevent.com.