David Axelrod’s Daughter Finds a Home in Her Fight With Epilepsy
Lauren Axelrod is the daughter of one of the most influential men in Washington: David Axelrod, senior adviser to President Obama.
Lauren, 29, had her first epileptic attack when she was just 7 months old, and over the next 18 years those attacks became so severe that she could experience as many as 25 a day. The attacks did permanent damage to Lauren’s brain and left her developmentally disabled.
In 2000, while she was in the middle of another severe attack, Lauren’s doctor told the Axelrods about a new anti-convulsant drug known as Keppra. In just a few days after taking the medication, all her seizures disappeared. She became healthy, but she still needed round-the-clock care.
With Lauren’s health improving each day, the Axelrods were worried about their own mortality and their daughter’s future. They found a place called Misericordia, which means “Heart of Mercy.” The Chicago-based home for the developmentally disabled has become a haven for families like the Axelrods.
Sister Rosemary Connelly has been the executive director and visionary for the not-for-profit home for 40 years. Known as “Saint Rosemary,” she has created a nurturing and practical environment for the 600 residents on the 31-acre facility. “It’s what can they do, what will make them fulfilled as people. And that’s what we work at,” Connelly says.
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