"When Mrs. Sordi first contacted me several years ago, she was very clear on what she wanted - a cure for her grandaughter Bronte..." say's Dr.Edie Zusman, Bronte Epilepsy Research Laboratory Co-Director
Mary Lou recalls, "I took care of Bronte every day for the first five years of her life while her parents were at work. As time went by more and more complications came into play, my daughter, Bronte's mother, had to take a leave of absence from work."
At just ten years old, Bronte has been through so much pain and suffering but she keeps fighting. "Raising money for research is our family's way of fighting back," say's Mary Lou. Research being the hope for a cure for Bronte and raise money they did! The Sordi's established a non profit foundation, and started fundraising by hosting golf tournaments, four to date raising $1.2 million. Every penny was donated to UC Davis Department of Neurological Surgery and they founded The Comprehensive Bronte Epilepsy Research Program. The Sordi's are working with UC Davis to establish the first Endowed Chair for Epilepsy Research. "The Bronte Chair for Epilepsy Research will move the Bronte Epilepsy Research Program forward on many levels, promoting the breakthrough epilepsy research we need for Bronte, and so many others," say's Mary Lou.
Dr. Edie Zusman expresses, "People in Sacramento now talk about epilepsy! Mary Lou Sordi has single handedly changed our communities perception of people with epilepsy and has supported and promoted improved services and treatment for individuals suffering from this isolating and long misunderstood [brain disorder]."
"Mary Lou Sordi has worked vigilantly and without distraction to mobilize every means possible to achieve her dream, [a cure for Bronte]. She has personally gone into our community to share Bronte's story, educating people on an individual basis and putting Bronte's lovely and compelling face on a human struggle. She has created interest in people seeking new information about friends and family with this chronic disease. Through her efforts, people are now aware of breakthroughs in care and opportunities for improved quality of life."
"Through her Epilepsy Research Foundation, Mrs. Sordi has used her passion and resources to promote focused local research to determine the cause of and to find a cure for epilepsy. The community support she generates played a significant role in our ability to attract a team of nationally and internationally recognized scientists and physicians to make a difference for epilepsy. Mary Lou Sordi regularly participates in recruitment efforts, seminars and research conferences for the UC Davis Comprehensive Epilepsy Program. In order to promote an exchange of ideas with our best and brightest colleagues and to educate the next generation of epilepsy experts, Mary Lou has funded a prestigious lecture series of visiting professors for the Bronte Epilepsy Research Program. She has personally inspired our team to reach deeper, try harder and dream of new and better ways to pursue the elusive scientific questions this disease has posed. The result has been several hundred thousand dollars of funding from grants for novel ideas about epilepsy and a planned international symposium dedicated to comprehensive analysis of Lennox Gastaut epilepsy. It is in part because of our comprehensive Epilepsy Program that Neurosciences at UC Davis have recently been recognized in US News and World Report as a top program."