PORTAIT OF GIVING
For the Love of a Child
Mary Lou Sordi’s enthusiasm and “can-do” spirit are
irresistible. She puts that natural energy into raising money for epilepsy
research at UC Davis Medical Center and School of Medicine — a
subject to which she is deeply connected. Mary Lou and her husband,
Chris, have a 10-year-old granddaughter, Bronte, who has epilepsy.
Diagnosed with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a very rare and severe form
of epilepsy, Bronte is susceptible to seizures every couple minutes
medication. While no cure exists for Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, medications
can help but their toxicity may lead to more brain damage. While Mary
Lou and Chris are delighted with Bronte’s progress under the guidance
of UC Davis physicians, they want more for her. They want to conquer
epilepsy. The key is research — the kind being conducted by UC
Davis and the kind that takes enormous funding.
An avid golfer, Mary Lou decided to organize a golf tournament to raise
money for epilepsy research. The annual Bronte Epilepsy Golf Classic
netted $75,000 its first year, which the Sordis presented to UC Davis
as seed money to launch the UC Davis Bronte Epilepsy Research Program.
The medical center matched the Sordis’ donation, and Mary Lou
knew she had a successful event.
Encouraged by their accomplishment, the Sordis established the Bronte
Epilepsy Research Foundation to raise even more funds for epilepsy research.
Mary Lou and Chris recently donated through their foundation more than
$850,000 to create the Bronte
Endowed Chair in Epilepsy Research. The gift will be combined with
department reserves and proceeds from the golf tournaments to immediately
professorship in the Department of Neurological Surgery. The Sordis’ pledge
of an additional $500,000 over the next five years will fully fund
the endowed chair.
Mary Lou is thrilled with the department’s achievements and grateful
to the people at UC Davis for taking such good care of Bronte. “Our
purpose is to raise money for better treatment and an eventual cure for
epilepsy,” says Mary Lou. “My husband and I want to provide
hope for our granddaughter and others like her.”
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