Former first lady Ida McKinley lived with epilepsy, Now, over 100 years after leaving the White House, Mrs. McKinley and Rick Harrison are uniting to benefit people living with seizures.
Harrison, co-owner of the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas and star of History's "Pawn Stars," bought the tiara from a family member of Mrs. McKinley on an episode of his show earlier this year. When he sold the tiara to the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum in Canton, OH, Harrison donated the proceeds from the sale, $40,000, to the Epilepsy Foundation and Epilepsy Foundation of Nevada.
Harrison, an Epilepsy Foundation spokesman and Board member, lived with seizures as a child. He recently talked about feeling a connection to McKinley because of their shared disease.
As a child, I looked for people whose names I might recognize who had epilepsy so that I would not feel alone. One of the reasons that I bought first lady Ida McKinley’s tiara ... was that she was one of those rare names I found as a child, and I hope that children with epilepsy today looking for that familiar face who knows their struggle see me and feel a bit less alone.
- Rick Harrison, Las Vegas Sun, July 10, 2014
The donation will help the Epilepsy Foundation in our mission to stop seizures and sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP), find a cure and overcome the challenges created by epilepsy through efforts including education, advocacy and research to accelerate ideas into therapies. It will also help the Epilepsy Foundation of Nevada provide information and education on living successfully with epilepsy, conduct yearly educational conferences for the public, and train school nurses and other school professionals in seizure recognition, treatment, and response.
"We are proud to call Rick Harrison an amazing advocate and friend of the Epilepsy Foundation," said Phil Gattone, president & CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation. "When Ida McKinley’s tiara appeared on a recent episode of his show, Rick took the opportunity to talk about her epilepsy and his childhood seizures. Seeing Rick talk about epilepsy on an internationally famous show like 'Pawn Stars' helps empower our entire community and helps increase understanding of a condition that affects more than 2 million people in the U.S. and 65 million people around the world."
In addition to this donation, Harrison is also leading the Pawn Stars Poker Run on October 5, 2014, that will benefit the Epilepsy Foundation of Nevada. Rick, accompanied by his son Corey (Big Hoss) will lead thousands of motorcycle riders through Las Vegas on the Poker Run to be followed by awesome music and festivities at Hogs & Heifers Saloon. The Grand Prize is a 2014 Triumph motorcycle with lots of other prizes and raffles. Register Here