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Wisconsin, Minnesota to team up for epilepsy awareness

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The Badgers and Gophers will wear purple stickers on their helmets for their Nov. 29 game to raise awareness for epilepsy treatment. Fans are also encouraged to wear purple.

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

This year's Battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe will feature an impressive element of teamwork between two of college football's longest-standing rivals. When the Minnesota Gophers travel to Madison for the Nov. 29 game against the Wisconsin Badgers, both teams will be wearing purple stickers on their helmets to raise epilepsy awareness.

Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill has faced a very public battle with the disorder, and 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy in their lifetime, according to Lily's Fund for Epilepsy Research, a nonprofit organization that supports epilepsy research at UW-Madison and is coordinating this project.

Here's the sticker both teams will wear:

Wisconsin Minnesota purple sticker epilepsy

This is a super cool campaign by both teams, especially considering it'll take place during what's always a major game for both teams. You'd expect nothing less from either program, and I hope we do indeed see a fair amount of purple in the stands on Nov. 29.

"It is great to be able to partner with Minnesota on this cause," Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen said. "It was a natural for us because of the great research that happens on our campus and the connection Coach Kill has to this condition. We are honored to be able to help raise awareness of the effects of epilepsy and the research needs associated with it."

Here's the full statement on the campaign from Lily's Fund:

MADISON, Wis. -- On November 29, the Wisconsin Badgers and the Minnesota Golden Gophers will battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe. Even as the two teams clash on the gridiron, they will collaborate on a joint effort to axe epilepsy.

To show support for Minnesota Coach Jerry Kill and the 1 in 26 people who will develop epilepsy in their lifetime, Badger and Gopher players will mark epilepsy awareness month by wearing purple stickers on their helmets. Fans are encouraged to wear both their team colors AND something purple.

"It is great to be able to partner with Minnesota on this cause," Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen said. "It was a natural for us because of the great research that happens on our campus and the connection Coach Kill has to this condition. We are honored to be able to help raise awareness of the effects of epilepsy and the research needs associated with it."

Lily's Fund for Epilepsy Research, a nonprofit organization that supports epilepsy research at UW-Madison, is coordinating the project. Currently, Lily's Fund supports one post-graduate research fellowship in the Neuroscience Department, and funds a two-year study led by UW neuroscientist and psychiatrist Giulio Tononi. Dr. Tononi is looking at ways to use HD-EEG technology to better understand how seizures affect the brain.

"For too long, people who live with epilepsy have lived in the shadows. It's heartwarming and inspiring to have two prominent football teams shed light on epilepsy awareness and the need for research," said Anne Morgan Giroux, founder of Lily's Fund. "This is such a classy, fun way to support Coach Kill and everyone else who is touched by epilepsy."

One out of 26 people worldwide will experience epilepsy at some point in their lives. More people suffer from epilepsy than multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson's Disease combined. However, funding for epilepsy research is less than half of the amount spent studying any one of those other afflictions.

www.lilysfund.org/1in26