Meet this year's King & Queen of Mardi Gras, Mark and Michelle Theeuwes, epilepsy advocates, champions, volunteers, but most importantly, loving parents!
Mark and Michelle Theeuwes are parents to two beautiful young ladies, Brielle, 19, and Bryanna, 17. They lived in Buckingham, PA, for over 15 years.
At 21 months old, Brielle had her first prolonged Partial Complex Seizure and was hospitalized for 3 days, with little to no information or support from the surrounding Tennessee medical community. After moving to Bucks County, they were relieved to find a tremendous amount of knowledge and understanding. During Brielle's first appointment at CHOP, they were introduced to the EFEPA.
Brielle's seizures remained uncontrolled throughout elementary school, requiring immediate medical intervention to stop each one. The family learned the hard way that, even after 3 hours of seizing on an airplane, her seizures do not stop on their own. This fueled Michelle's passion for identifying Brielle's triggers to prevent them. She educates teachers and school staff about focal seizures, emphasizing that not all seizures are the same and creating a safe environment for her daughter.
Mark's career in the pharmaceutical industry led him to an opportunity as COO of Engage Therapeutics. He ran a successful Phase 2b clinical trial, testing a Rapid Epileptic Seizure Termination product called staccato alprazolam. To Mark, this was not a job; it was a personal passion to change the lives of people with epilepsy. Today, Mark is the CEO of Receptor Life Sciences, where he is now initiating a Phase 1b clinical trial, testing the possibility of their inhalable CBD product affecting seizure activity in the brain.
In July, Mark was nominated to contribute his personal and professional experience as a member of the Epilepsy Foundation of America's Board of Directors. Both Mark and Michelle are currently working with the EFEPA, government officials, and local families to help amend the current law in order to mandate Seizure Recognition & First Aid Training in all Pennsylvania schools.
Mark, Michelle, Brielle, and Bryanna are very excited and honored to be this year's Royal Family!