Thursday, November 27, 2014

Order your QR Life Support Bracelet or Dog Tags NOW!

With Gift Giving Season just around the corner, the Epilepsy Association of Utah is happy to announce that QR Life Support will be donating $1 for each active Bracelet or Dog Tags to the EAU every month!
You normally can't put a price on peace of mind, but this time, maybe you can!
The Bracelet or Dog Tags are FREE, just pay $3.95 S&H!  Enter all pertinent medical information online and pay $2.99 per month for maintenance.  In the event of an emergency, medical personnel can access the information quickly.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Epilepsy Awareness Wreaths Available NOW!

November is upon us!

The Epilepsy Association of Utah presents an amazing way to raise #EpilepsyAwareness all month long!

Email now and order yours TODAY!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Community Service Awards

Black and White and Red and Purple and Teal and Orange, The Community Service awards were all the colors of a rainbow! And twice as beautiful. Led by Gene Kennedy and rocked by Craig Chambers, the evening was filled with appreciation, dancing and a fabulous amount of beautiful people being acknowledged for their fantastic efforts. Established to recognize those people and entities within Utah who advance the cause of epilepsy awareness and understanding, the 2nd Annual Community Service awards were held at Adobe in Lehi with 100 in attendance at the Black and White event.

Pictures soon, but until then, check out our amazing award recipients:

Results are presented by category. 

Medical Professional:
Dr. Francis Filloux - MD of the Year
Dr. Denise Morita - President's Award for Outstanding Medical Professional
Dr. Matthew Sweney - President's Award for Outstanding Medical Professional
Kim Orton - President's Award for Outstanding Medical Professional
Volunteer Group:
Hope 4 Children With Epilepsy - Volunteer Group of the Year
Laps for Lyndsay
President's Award for Outstanding Volunteer Group
Utah Kids
President's Award for Outstanding Volunteer Group
Purple Dash 5K
Purple Star Award for Outstanding Volunteer Group
Keri Beardall - Volunteer of the Year
Christine Ferrin - President's Award for Outstanding Volunteer
David and Judy Hultgren- President's Award for Outstanding Volunteers
Cameron May - Purple Star Award for Outstanding Volunteer
Jenn Whiting - Purple Star Award for Outstanding Volunteer
April Sintz - People's Choice Award
Youth Volunteer:
Rachel Hair - Youth Volunteer of the Year
Taylor Maughan - President's Award for Outstanding Youth Volunteer
Demi Sintz - President's Award for Outstanding Youth Volunteer
Makayla May - Purple Star Award for Outstanding Youth Volunteer
Laura Warburton - Advocate of the Year
Emilie Campbell - President's Award for Outstanding Advocate
Lulu Hammond - President's Award for Outstanding Advocate
Charlie and Mandy Lynch - President's Award for Outstanding Advocate
Sarah Nitta - Purple Star Award for Outstanding Advocate
Holly Ferrin - People's Choice Award
Syndi Knowlton - People's Choice Award
Glenn and Annette Maughan - People's Choice Award
Jennifer May - People's Choice Award
April Sintz - People's Choice Award
Youth Advocate:
Demi Sintz - Youth Advocate of the Year
Savannah Spacil - President's Award for Outstanding Youth Advocate
Jaime Chadwick - President's Award for Outstanding Youth Advocate
Bertrand Might - Purple Star Award for Outstanding Youth Advocate
Commercial Partner:
Living Planet Aquarium - Commercial Partner of the Year
Adobe Systems - President's Award for Outstanding Commercial Partner
National Ability Center - President's Award for Outstanding Commercial Partner
Futura Industries - Prurple Star Award for Outstanding Commercial Partner
Lundbeck - Purple Star Award for Outstanding Commercial Partner
MassMutual SpecialCare - Purple Star Award for Outstanding Commercial Partner
Keystone Award:
Senator Patricia Jones
Representative Marie Poulson
Representative Paul Ray
Senator Steve Urquhart
Dedicated Service Award:
Janis Hardy
Charlee Nelson
Charlee Award
Representative Gage Froerer
Person of the Year
Laura Warburton
Lifetime Achievement Award
Dr. Steve White

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Just Dance!

Can't make the ball but don't want to miss the fun?  Join us for the After Party and JUST DANCE!  Register now!

Friday, September 12, 2014


You don't want to miss this!  Click here to RSVP today!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Seize: The Story - Taylor Ferguson

Monday, September 1, 2014
Seize:  The Story - Taylor Ferguson
Nobody knew I was having seizures, not even my parents. I just thought I was having blackouts as I would call them, until I went to my guitar lesson and had one of my "blackouts".  My guitar teacher worked with epileptics so she knew I had just had a seizure.  I remember peeking around the corner and wondering why my guitar teacher was at my house, what they were talking about and why my mom was crying?  We then took a visit to a doctor’s was true, I had epilepsy, but at the age of nine I had never heard of epilepsy before, so I just thought it was like the flu and would go away.  The day I realized it wouldn't go away I cried myself to sleep.

School was hard!  I lost almost all of my friends because they thought I was "contagious" and when I explained to (my at the time best friend) that I wasn't she just said "okay" and walked away.  See if you were friends with me you couldn't be popular.  It took me awhile to really realize what happened with my best friend; at the time everything was crashing in on me.  I got made fun of all the time; it was so bad my mom put me in home hospital.  When I was having a lot of seizures I would be home with a tutor but when they would get under control I would go back to normal school.  I then went to a charter school in eighth grade just so I could get away from all the kids that knew about my epilepsy and would make fun of me.  When I was sixteen I had brain surgery and had a piece of the brain removed to try and stop my seizures, so I was out of school my sophomore year. I then went back to school my junior year of high school.  But with only the people from my elementary knowing me, well you would think high school kids would be more mature, no some of them still made their stabs at me I was just not as affected by it and knew how to stand up for myself.

About two years after my brain surgery I was going to get my driver’s license, the day before I was going to take the driver’s test I had another seizure.    My parent’s and I started looking into other options. We then decided to have a VNS (Vagus Nerve Stimulator) implanted.  We decided to have the VNS surgery (which is a device like a pace maker that is hooked to the vagus nerve and sends shock waves through my brain every 3 minutes for 30 seconds to try to stop or lessen the severity of my seizures or after affects), about six months to a year later the VNS stopped working and I gave up all hope.  Nothing had worked and there was nothing left to do; pills didn't work and there was no surgery left.

I never thought that I would get married because of my epilepsy but when I was twenty one I found the greatest guy in the world, who loved me for me and didn't care that I had epilepsy like a lot of the other guys out there.  So he proposed and I said "yes" and we were married about six months later. A little while later I got pregnant and I had an ectopic pregnancy (where the baby is growing in the Fallopian tube), but two years later I got pregnant again and had a daughter in May 2014.

Granted I have been talking about my epilepsy, so it hasn't been the best of memories. My life hasn't been all bad.  I have an amazing family, daughter, husband, and friends, have had awesome vacations to Bear Lake, Pinedale, Disney World/Florida, Disney Land, Island Park and many more.  I have had a great life with many bad experiences but I wouldn't take them back for anything because they have made me who I am today. 

I hope this helps someone out there in some way!

Taylor A. Zobell Ferguson

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Epilepsy Association of Utah & Hope 4 Children With Epilepsy - Federal Call to Action

For Immediate Release 
Epilepsy Association of Utah & Hope 4 Children With Epilepsy
Federal Call to Action

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Tuesday, August 26, 2014

One year ago today, the Epilepsy Association of Utah became the first epilepsy organization in the United States to take a stance in support of expanding treatment options to include high-CBD/low-THC cannabis extracts. Since that time, dozens of organizations have followed suit, leading to the passage of HB105 “Charlee’s Law” in Utah and similar bills across the nation.

The Epilepsy Association of Utah and Hope 4 Children with Epilepsy have withheld public support of federal legislation until today. We have now chosen to openly support federal bill H.R. 5226: Charlotte’s Web Medical Hemp Act of 2014, sponsored by Rep. Scott Perry (R - PA), and will work toward its passage. The bill proposes to exclude industrial hemp and cannabidiol (CBD) from the definition of marijuana, granting those suffering with epilepsy access to the treatment according to the laws of their own states. Industrial hemp is defined as cannabis with THC content below .3%.

“A federal change in policy regarding cannabis is essential,’ said Annette Maughan, President and CEO of the Epilepsy Association of Utah, “My son can be treated with cannabis openly in Utah, but he can’t go to Disneyland with his family? All because his oil is grown in the United States? The incongruity of that is staggering.”

We welcome the addition of other federal bills regarding the rescheduling of cannabis and reserve the right to evaluate each on the merits of its potential impact. The federal stance that cannabis holds no medicinal value places it on Schedule 1 of the DEA’s list of controlled substances:

“Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. “

With the published reports of success in treating epilepsy, among other conditions (, the claim of “no medical use” is no longer valid; therefore, cannabis should be rescheduled. Because cannabis is currently listed on Schedule 1, research and compassionate use are very difficult to accomplish, even with the involvement of medical specialists and research institutions. This needs to change.

We call upon all federal legislators to join us in this very critical and urgent cause by supporting and/or co-sponsoring H.R. 5226: Charlotte’s Web Medical Hemp Act of 2014. Likewise, we urge our state legislators, as well as all citizens of Utah and the United States, to let their voices be heard in support of those suffering with intractable epilepsy in our country.

The language for H.R. 5226: Charlotte’s Web Medical Hemp Act of 2014 can be found at


Founded in 1973, the Epilepsy Association of Utah is a 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for all individuals living with epilepsy and seizure disorders. One in 26 people will develop epilepsy at some time in their lives, leading to over 100,000 people with epilepsy in Utah alone. Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder in the US, after migraine, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease. The Epilepsy Association of Utah offers a public education program, statewide support groups, personal and professional advocacy, college scholarships, art exhibits, educational conferences, summer camp and more.

We are parents of children with severe forms of epilepsy. The seizures take a toll on our children’s overall health, ability to function, and quality of life, leaving them with increased risk for sudden death. We desperately need new treatment options. We lobby to make high-CBD/low-THC cannabis extract available in Utah, and across the United States, to those who suffer with intractable epilepsy. The extract is not smoked and does not cause a “high”, but it can save the lives of children.

Press Contact: Jennifer May
Phone:                    801-400-0046

Monday, June 9, 2014

Seize: The Story - Jenny Rebecca Lester

My name is Jenny and I am turning 4 this month!  I love to dance and play school with my Aunt.

My mom noticed that I would stare off into space and would fall down for no reason.  She made an appointment with my pediatrician.  My doctor thought it sounded like I was having seizures so he referred me to a neurologist.  The neurologist ordered an EEG nothing wrong.  He decided we needed to have an MRI of my brain.  We found a sore on my brain that I have had since I was born.  I started taking Keppra and my seizures went away for 7 months.  We increased my medicine and I have been fine the past 5 months.  I have become very hyper and keep my parents and grandparents very busy!  My doctor is very proud of how well I balance.  I already know my colors, abc’s and some of my numbers.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Press Release: Epilepsy Association of Utah Announces “Seizure Smart” Education Conference

For Immediate Release

Epilepsy Association of Utah Announces 
“Seizure Smart” Education Conference

SALT LAKE CITY – Monday, May 19, 2014 
The Epilepsy Association of Utah (EAU) announces its annual “Get Seizure Smart!” Epilepsy Education Conference, presenting the latest in epilepsy science and treatment options, as well as tools and resources for those affected by epilepsy. The “Seizure Smart” conference will be held Saturday, June 7, 2014 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Little America Hotel, 500 South Main Street, Salt Lake City. Individuals with epilepsy, families of those affected, medical personnel, educators, and first responders, as well as the general public, are invited to attend.

Dr. Ian Miller, pediatric neurologist at Miami Children’s Hospital, international expert in treating Dravet syndrome and member of the Dravet Syndrome Foundation’s Professional Advisory Board, will be the keynote speaker and special guest. He is scheduled to discuss the discovery of genetics in epilepsy and the push for research into CBD-based treatment options.

The conference will feature breakout sessions with renowned experts presenting on topics including the complexities of epilepsy, genetics of epilepsy, latest treatment options, alternative therapies, coping and advocacy, managing behaviors and sibling behaviors, mental health, trusts and living wills and patient resources. Several organizations and vendors will be in attendance with tables providing helpful information, a few of which include the Division of Services for People with Disabilities, Hope 4 Children With Epilepsy, Utah Kids, Utah Parent Center, Autism Council of Utah and Brain Balance Centers.

With the recent passage of HB105 “Charlee’s Law” allowing for the possession of high-CBD/low-THC cannabis oil for the treatment of intractable epilepsy in adults and children, the EAU will present the specifics of the new Hemp Extract Registration Program and the safe and effective use of the therapy. Jennifer May, co-founder of Hope 4 Children With Epilepsy, the EAU’s parent advocacy group who lobbied in favor of the bill, will be walking patients through the details of the law and the processes required to gain access to approved extracts for treatment. As the leading provider of high-CBD/low-THC cannabis oil, Realm of Caring’s own Heather Jackson will present information about the oil as a treatment for intractable epilepsy. Realm of Caring is a non-profit organization in Colorado who oversees the cultivation of the Charlotte’s Web plant and its processing and distribution as Alepsia, a non-psychoactive extract infused in oil.

“Our goal with the Seizure Smart Epilepsy Conference is to provide those affected by epilepsy with the tools needed to educate themselves, as well as those around them, and obtain the best treatments possible, whether they be mainstream or alternative,” said April Sintz, EAU Conference Chairperson and H4CE leadership member. “We want to empower people by giving them choices and resources that are available to all of us here in the state of Utah,” Sintz stated.

Cost for the conference is $30 for the public ($15 for EAU members) if registered in advance; an additional $10 charge will apply for those registering at the door. A light breakfast, a catered lunch, and a “loot bag” will be provided for each attendee. Registration is open on the EAU website at


Founded in 1973, the Epilepsy Association of Utah is a 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for all individuals living with epilepsy and seizure disorders. One in 26 people will develop epilepsy at some time in their lives, totaling over 100,000 people in Utah alone. Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder in the US, after migraine, stroke and Alzheimer’s. The Epilepsy Association of Utah offers a public education program, statewide support groups, personal and professional advocacy, college scholarships, art exhibits, educational conferences, summer camp and more. Visit for additional information. 

Media Contact: Jennifer Hardy May 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Seize: The Story - Austin Beardall

My son Austin, who had been a totally normal baby up to this point, had his first seizure at four months old. What appeared at first to be a hyper-moro reflex turned into him having more than 12 episodes of his whole body jerking and his eyes open and staring in 12 hours, lead us to believe he was really having seizures. The following day an EEG was performed and indeed he was having seizures. We began mediation that for the next two months seemed to control his seizures and then the seizure pattern changed and he began having more of a tonic/clonic-generalized seizure. Most of Austin’s seizures happen when he is going to sleep, during sleep and upon waking up in the morning. Because of this he cannot sleep alone or he would try to get to someone and hurt himself, therefore he has to sleep with a member of our family at all times.

Since four months of age Austin has never been completely controlled and has been on approximately 10 different medications, including ACTH injections daily at nine months old for 30 days, even with all of these we have not been able to help him be completely seizure free. Many of these medications are given together in hopes of control. Currently, Austin takes three different seizure medications and recently had to weaning off of one due to the side effects that caused a severe tremor in his hands, much like that of a Parkinson’s patient, this tremor was preventing him from performing normal tasks such as feeding himself and getting dressed. Austin has had up to as many as 10-15 seizures in a day and currently is having anywhere from 1-8 per day. His seizures typically last around 30sec. to 3 minutes, causing total body shaking, eyes opening staring or eye fluttering, gurgling noises, and sometimes he tries to climb out of bed.

In 2001, Austin had a Vagus Nerve Stimulator (VNS) placed. The purpose of the VNS is to stimulate the brain counteracting the electrical impulses that the brain is giving off causing seizures and hoping to stop the seizure from either happening at all or decreasing the severity of the seizure. For Austin the VNS is on a setting called rapid cycle, which means that it is stimulating his brain for 25 seconds than off for 5 seconds than on again continually. The VNS also has the capability to increase the amplitude of the stimulation and stay on for one full minute if a seizure is seen by family, we do this by swiping across his chest with a high powered magnet where the VNS is located. Because, the VNS is ran by a battery it only lasts about 4-5 years requiring a replacement of the battery pack.

So far, Austin has had three surgeries just for his VNS since it was placed in 2001. Austin started showing development delays around the age of two and has continued to have delays throughout his life. He has speech, fine motor, and academic delays; he has been classified as Intellectually Disabled. He is 20 years old and academically functions at about a 4-5 year old and socially about a 12-14 year old. He also has a diagnosis of ADHD and Anxiety, both requiring medications. He also needs medications to help him sleep at night.

Even through all of this Austin is a fun, loving, energetic young man that is loved by all! His favorite thing to do is play his Xbox and he can play just about any game you give him. Austin also participates in special needs sports league and love to play baseball, basketball and soccer. He has lots of friends and it seems like anytime we are out he finds someone he knows. We are so proud of all the accomplishments he has had in his life and look forward to many more!

Keri Beardall

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Camp Neuro Revolution Participant Application 2014

First time hearing about Camp Neuro Revolution? Learn more about us by visiting our facebook page.

Camp Neuro Revolution Volunteer Application 2014

First time hearing about Camp Neuro Revolution? Learn more about us by visiting our facebook page.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Seize: The Story - Jessie Christensen

Jessica was born a beautiful child and developed normally and hit all milestones just like she should until she had her first seizure at 9 months old. Her second and third followed, and in the first year she had 8 seizures. We started her on medication as advised by the doctors, but the seizures continued. Each year the seizures increased in number and severity as well as developing differing types of seizures. By the age of 3 Jessica was no longer developing normally, but starting to decline in her cognitive abilities and the drugs she was on were making the seizures worse not better. She was having long status seizures and then being paralyzed after for hours or days. We took her to the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential in Philadelphia to try to reverse the brain damage and get a handle on her seizures. There we learned about cross-lateral patterning, and masking. The patterning helped with her coordination and the masking helped to keep the seizures shorter. but they continued.

At age 5 we took her to UCLA to see if she would be a surgical candidate, but were told the seizures were not localized to one place in the brain. She was on 6 seizure drugs at this time. The doctor's didn't know what to tell us as they couldn't diagnose her with anything other than idiopathic/intractable Epilepsy. Basically that means we don't know and can't control it, so sorry. We tried many other non-traditional therapies, some of which helped a little, but most which didn't help at all. She was eventually diagnosed at 7 1/2 years old with Dravet Syndrome. By this time she was having over 1200 seizures per year, sometimes as many as 30 per day. We travelled to Chicago to see the foremost specialist on Dravet Syndrome, Dr. Laux, and get advice as to what we should do for Jessie. She advised us as to the medications that seem to work the best and we worked to get Jessie on those three or four medications. Jessie has been on 17 anti-epileptic medications and the Ketogenic diet as well as many vitamins and supplements suggested by her doctors. She is now 14 still having daily seizures, although not as many, and functions at a 3 year old level.

Jessie loves to color and paint, do puzzles and matching games, bake cookies and brownies play at the park and watch videos. She loves her brother Matthew and her Grandpa. She has two golden retrievers named Shadow and Pillar and she loves to be with them as much as possible. They are very patient and gentle and allow her to lay all over them. Jessie loves her friends from school and always wants to go play at their houses. She is a pro at the iPad and can learn things on it we haven't been able to teach her through traditional methods at school. We love having her in our family.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Seize: The Story - Hanna Maria

My 9 year old girl miss Hanna Maria was born normal. Then when we went in for her first set of immunizations shots and within 12 hours after getting them, she started having seizures. These started out just in the face but by the next night they were full body seizures (Tonic/Clonic). 

Our local ER, that we went to that night, told us: 'they are face twitches, everyone has these'. 

I said: "What? I have never seen anyone with those."

The next day, she was not any better so I took her to her regular Doctor and he told me same thing, adding what a seizure really would look like (full body). And sure enough, that night, she had the first full body seizure. 

By the time we made it to see the Doc that specializes in this kind of stuff (at Primary Children's Hospital) they said: yes, these are seizures and they are called 'face seizures'. 

At age 6 months, we were having 80 to 90 seizures a day. From age 1, they said she was Developmentally Delayed and by age 3 they said she had CP.  At 3 1/2, we found out she also had Scoliosis. She had 2 rods put in her back at age 5. By 6, she got a Vagus Nerve Stimulator, to help with the seizures.  With the VNS and 5 meds, we now have only 8 to 15 a day. 

We where G-tube fed for awhile, and also had a GJ tube, but in the last year she can not do any kind of feeds, so we are on TPN through a central line. 

No matter what life has thrown her way, she is a strong little girl and I would not change my life for anything. I love her so much for she is my whole world.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Press Release: Association seeks CFO/Treasurer


Association seeks CFO/Treasurer

West Jordan, Utah- March 28, 2014 – The Epilepsy Association of Utah, a 501(c)(3) charity, is seeking a Treasurer to oversee the day-to-day financial operations of our organization.

Qualified candidates will have a finance degree and/or a min 4 years proven track record of NPO financial oversight. The ideal candidate must provide monthly reconciliation to the Board and oversee all aspects of the financial health of the Association with no compensation. This position will report directly to a Board of Directors and will also assist in creating and maintaining the strategic vision of the organization.

Send resume and cover letter, including references to: Holly at

Job Description
Position:  CFO/Treasurer
Reports to:  Board of Directors
Purpose:  To manage and support the EAU’s finances.
Salary: None

The Board Treasurer is first, and foremost, a member of the Executive Board of the Epilepsy Association of Utah complete with voting privileges.  This is a volunteer position has a term of 4 years.

The Treasurer will oversee the financial health of the Association and present a monthly statement of finances to the Board of Directors.

Treasurer Responsibilities:
  • Serve as Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee
  • Authorized second signer on all checks
  • Create and maintain policies related to the budget, audit, investment, financial controls and fiscal management philosophies
  • Lead the Finance and Audit Committee in a review of any contracts for which the value is greater than $5,000; the contract spans multiple years and has a value of more than $5,000 per year; the contract has financial implications of more than $5,000 and was not included in the annual budget
  • Oversee, in consultation with staff, the budget development and monitoring process
  • Prepare reports for the meetings of the Board of Directors on the status of the current budget, investments and any financial issues requiring Board review and/or approval
  • Fulfill other duties as assigned by the CEO/President or Board of Directors.

General Responsibilities:
  • Participate in the development and annual monitoring of the EAU’s strategic plan;
  • Exercise fiduciary responsibility for the fiscal health of the organization;
  • Represent the best interests of the organization on all issues raised in Board meetings, based on careful analysis of agendas and supporting material;
  • Know and uphold the regulations, policies, and procedures of the organization;
  • Represent the EAU’s positions to individuals and groups with whom the Board member interacts (e.g. open doors to potential donors, make visits, or identify key alliance partners;)
  • Adhere to conflict of interest policy of the EAU;
  • Agree to the terms established in the Board of Directors Contract;
  • Recruit new members for the organization. 

Founded in 1973, The Epilepsy Association of Utah is a 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for all individuals living with Epilepsy and seizure disorders. 1 in 26 people will develop Epilepsy at some time in their lives leading to over 100,000 people in Utah alone. Epilepsy is the 4th most common neurological disorder in the US after migraine, stroke and Alzheimer’s. The Epilepsy Association of Utah offers a public education program, statewide support groups, personal and professional advocacy, college scholarships, art exhibits, educational conferences, summer camp and more.  Visit for additional information.

Press Contact:        Jennifer May

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Seize: The Story - Charlee Nelson

Seize: The Story - Charlee Nelson
What an amazing year the Epilepsy Association of Utah has had! With Paint the State Purple 2014, we are relaunching our Seize: the Story series. We have decided that it was only appropriate to start with a somber story; a story of one of our heroes, Charlee. Charlee was born January 30, 2008 to Jeff and Catrina Nelson. She was a happy, fun loving, funny, sweet and smart 3 1/2 year old girl. She enjoyed singing, dancing, playing with her brother and sister and loved anyone to read her a hundred books a day. Little did they know the greatest trial of their lives would start on May 20, 2011, when she had her first seizure. Following that, she had hundreds of tests including: EEG, 2 CT Scans, 3 MRI's, Spinal tap, skin biopsy, ERG and countless blood tests to find her diagnosis. She had to endure so much pain and suffering but amazed everyone with her strength. After 21 months of testing and searching for answers, the diagnosis came. Although it is NOT the results they had hoped for, we knew she had a greater mission on the other side. She had a genetic disease called Batten disease. It occurs when a child inherits two copies of the defective gene, one from each parent. Over time, affected children suffer mental impairment, worsening seizures and progressive loss of sight and motor skills. Eventually children with this disease become blind and bed ridden. They will be unable to walk and talk and the disease is always fatal. Charlee's type of NCL is Late INfantile NCL/CLN2; it begins between the ages of 2 & 4. This form progresses rapidly and ends in death between 8 and 12. Charlee had the opportunity to meet many members of the Utah state legislature and be one of the faces for cannabis oil legislation in Utah. On March 14, 2014, Charlee was called home; her mission was complete. Just 4 days before she passed, HB105 was officially called Charlee's law. It may have been to late to help Charlee, but she helped many people to see the importance of having the option to use cannabis oil as a treatment for seizures. The Nelson family is heart broken as they venture into the next journey in their lives but Charlee will never be forgotten by the Epilepsy Association of Utah and her willingness to help future generations here in Utah.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Press Release: Utah Legalizes Cannabis for Seizure Treatment


Utah Legalizes Cannabis for Seizure Treatment
Governor Signs Bill – First of Its Kind in Nation

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah- Tuesday, 25 March – Today, many Utah families cheered as Governor Gary Herbert held an event replicating his signing of “Charlee’s Law” or HB105, the first bill of its kind allowing cannabis extract (CBD) oil for treatment of uncontrolled seizures. Based on recommended use by board certified neurologists, Utah families hope the oil will decrease or even control their children’s seizures.

Governor Herbert signed the bill last Thursday and it will go into effect this July. The new law allows families of children with uncontrolled epilepsy to possess CBD oil, manufactured from the cannabis plant, in Utah. Where 20 other states have legalized the use of medical marijuana, this nationally unique law allows for specific precautions, such as a low psychoactive component of .3 percent THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). “CBD oil does not cause a ‘high’ and it has absolutely no abuse potential, yet it could prove to improve quality of life or even save lives for some of our children,” said Annette Maughan, Epilepsy Association of Utah’s president.

Charlee’s Law states that families who bring CBD oil into Utah must take their board certified neurologist’s recommendation to the Utah Department of Health in order to obtain a permit once per year. A law enforcement officer may check the validity of permits at any time. Neurologists recommending the product to their patients must send their findings to an institution of higher education to study. The law will have a sunset provision of two years, allowing Utah lawmakers to analyze the research.

Some Utah lawmakers had concerns that the product is not yet FDA approved and questioned the known side effects. Still, the House passed the bill 62-11 and it went on to win a unanimous vote of 26-0 at the Senate, citing arguments supporting that children with intractable epilepsy do not have time to wait the five to eight year process of FDA approval.

“The preliminary research that has been done would show that it has been very optimistic that we actually increase life span and life potential by decreasing the seizures by 50 to 100 percent,” said Representative Gage Froerer, the bill’s sponsor. Maughan stated that the most common side effect is that it makes children a little sleepy, which is an incredible improvement compared to the FDA approved and organ destroying medications children currently take.

“We are thrilled that Utah lawmakers have researched and recognized the urgency of this matter, while showing an incredible amount of compassion for Utah’s epileptic children,” said Maughan.

Press Contact:        Jennifer May