You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Names

CEO discloses epilepsy

Carol Fulp at Fenway.

Bill Brett FOR THE GLOBE

Carol Fulp at Fenway.

It’s not easy keeping a secret in this town, especially when you play at the level of power that Carol Fulp has reached. But Wednesday night at Fenway Park for the CURE 2012 Boston Benefit, in a room filled with senators, CEOs, and power brokers, one of Boston’s most respected women revealed a secret she’s lived with since she was 7 years old. Fulp has epilepsy.

The CEO and president of The Partnership, Inc., and a former senior vice president at John Hancock Financial, Fulp also served recently as President Obama’s US representative to the 65th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

Continue reading below

“People like me who have epilepsy and respond to treatment know full well the negative stigma of epilepsy,” Fulp said in her speech. “So we don’t disclose we have the illness. As a result, we don’t advocate — we don’t lend our voice. And as such, the public doesn’t always hear the truth, the facts from those who are living productive lives with epilepsy. And for me, well for 50 years, I didn’t tell people I had epilepsy. “

Fulp spoke after Julia Barnicle, who also suffers from epilepsy, and is the daughter of Bank of America executive Anne Finucane and longtime journalist Mike Barnicle. Fulp told the audience she first had staring spells as a girl and said teachers took away her lead role in the class musical. She said medication has kept her seizure-free for long stretches, but that her last serious one nearly killed her. She was in the car with her husband, Bernie Fulp, while he drove them along a cliffside road on Martha’s Vineyard, when she next woke up in a hospital. She had seized during their drive and said if she had been behind the wheel they would have crashed.

During her UN work she met David Axelrod, Obama’s chief political strategist, whose daughter has epilepsy and whose wife, Susan Axelrod, cofounded CURE (Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy). Fulp said only her inner circle knew her secret, but she revealed it to the Axelrods.

“He took my hand in his,” Fulp said, “and he thanked me for telling him and asked if I was OK.”

After she closed by saying, “Tonight, Julia and I stand here and address you as the lucky ones,” the audience stood and clapped for two minutes.

Doug Most can be reached at dmost@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Globedougmost.
Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.