Cycling French champion leads the fight against epilepsy | UCB
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Cycling French champion leads the fight against epilepsy

Posted by
Jean-Michel Joubert, Governmental Affairs
Marion Clignet is a champion in every sense of the word. She is best known for winning Olympic medals in Sydney and Atlanta. She also won six world titles and 10 French titles during her 15 years professional cycling career.

She is also a fighter. What many people did not know when they saw her stand on the winners' podium was that Marion was overcoming challenges that her opponents did not face.

When she was 22 years of age, Marion was diagnosed with epilepsy. For some, this may have made them question whether they could compete with the best cyclists in the world. But Marion fought to overcome this hurdle and continued to improve as a cyclist – and she kept on winning.

Today, having retired from professional sport, Marion has another challenge: raising awareness of epilepsy. She believes that the disease is poorly understood and she has worked tirelessly to change attitudes.

Rather than viewing epilepsy as a reason to avoid sport, Marion shows how sport can be an important support for epilepsy patients. She wants young people in particular to appreciate how exercise can improve balance, dexterity and flexibility.

For six years, she has organised a charity cycle ride, raising epilepsy awareness as well as raising funds for important projects. On 6 June, she will lead hundreds of cyclists in the 7th edition of the event.

Her efforts are translating into concrete results – quite literally! Marion hopes to raise €1 million to build a gymnasium for children who attend Castelnouvel, a school dedicated to children with severe epilepsy.

The gym will include a research centre, allowing scientists to study the impact of physical activity on children with epilepsy.

UCB has a proud history of working to improve the lives of people with epilepsy and supports Marion's excellent work in this area. To demonstrate our commitment, more than 50 UCB employees will take part in the cycling event.

“We have many more miles to travel on the road to defeating severe epilepsy but, with Marion's leadership, we are committed to staying the course until we reach this destination” comments Anne de Cassini, UCB Area Head France.

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