A $2.5 million gift towards epilepsy research has been made to Western University by a family who knows too well how debilitating this disease can be.

The Cowin family have been searching for answers for their daughter/granddaugher - Sophie - who has a rare form of life-threatening epilepsy that is resistant to treatments.

Western Chancellor Jack Cowin and his wife Sharon say the treatment and understanding their granddaughter got at Western was superior.

In a statement, Jack says, "We wanted to make a donation to foster, encourage and enhance the excellence that had clearly already been established in epilepsy research at Western."

The gift is being matched by Western University, which means $5 million in new funding will go towards a new research chair to strengthen collaborative research between scientists, clinicians and hospitals.

The inaugural chair, Dr. Jorge Burneo, will work to "build the bridge between Western’s signature areas of basic research strength – including medical imaging and neuroscience – and clinical practice."

London already has the largest epilepsy program in Canada, with the largest volume of surgeries, and it is hoped this gift will make it the top epliepsy centre in North America.