Message from the Executive Director
I have enjoyed almost 2 years as the FACES Executive Director and feel completely motivated and inspired by our volunteers, donors and physicians every day. The FACES team – Luis Valero, Associate Director, Alyssa Giorgio, Event Manager, Nako Ishii, Project Coordinator, Heather Wall Coordinator of our FACES Apartments, and Camp/College Scholarship Programs, and Peggy Guinnessey Manager of our Parent Network – me – are committed to the organization’s mission and continue to strategize innovative ways to raise awareness and funds.
FACES supports the tremendous work of the medical team here at the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at NYU Langone Medical Center. Ongoing research initiatives, clinical trials and patient support are paving the way to a cure.
On Monday, March 3, 2014, FACES celebrated our annual Gala at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan. Katie and Todd Boehly - pillars of the business and philanthropic communities - served as Gala Chairs, and Dr. Temple Grandin - renowned doctor of animal science, bestselling author and autistic rights activist - was the esteemed honoree. Carol Pressler and her daughter Lauri Herman served as the Auction Chairs and David Remnick, Editor of the New Yorker and Brian Williams, of NBC Nightly News, were the MCs. Funds raised from the evening provide for life-enhancing programs in cutting-edge research, clinical care, education and awareness programs, and community building events. The gala was filled with inspiring highlights, but perhaps one that stands out the most were words from our young grateful patient William who proudly proclaimed amid thunderous applause, “I may have those things (referring to epilepsy and autism), but I am NOT those things,” and further saying, “My favorite number of all is 1325, you know why? That’s the number of days I have been seizure free!” A total of over $4.8M was raised. For the first time this year, in lieu of the silent auction, FACES introduced an online auction component, thereby opening to a wider audience the opportunity to participate. Bidding was feverish on both the live and online auctions which raised over $825,000 along with the live appeal. This reflected a 24% increase from the previous year. A special thank you to everyone who contributed towards the success of the evening.
Team FACES was born in November 2013, when 6 runners raised over $67,000 for the NYC Marathon. We continued the athletic spirit in March for the NYC half-marathon, with 4 runners raising $20,000.
The arrival of spring also brought the Epilepsy Conference on Sunday, April 27, 2014 at NYU Langone Medical Center. Over 400 patients, caregivers, parents and medical professionals attended to learn about the latest developments in the epilepsy field.
Our FACES Apartments provided 564 nights of lodging in 2013, and a home-away-from-home for families from 21 states and 4 countries.
Once again, FACES is happy to extend an opportunity for children to attend summer camp through the Dr. Blanca Vazquez Scholarship. Young people who deal with the daily challenges of living with epilepsy will have a wonderful opportunity to make new friends and have some fun in the sun. We are also excited to continue with last year’s new programs - the FACES College Scholarship Program and the FACES Teen Program. We are delighted to provide financial support for college and graduate students affected by epilepsy and are accepting applications through June 9th. Back by popular demand, FACES will kick-off their Teen Program on June 8th with a party and lunch at Dave & Buster’s in Times Square. Don’t forget to hold the date for Game Day, which will take place on Saturday, October 25, 2014. Watch for more information during the summer.
The fall will bring a new set of Peace of Mind lectures – and we would love to hear from you regarding the topics that interest you the most.
Check out our Facebook page and Twitter feed for new postings about current events and information that involves the epilepsy community. Our Facebook page is www.facebook.com/FACESfriends. Our Twitter page is www.twitter.com/nyuFACES. Continue to watch your inbox for the FACES monthly e-newsletter, insight. In addition to FACES news and community updates, there will also be exciting highlights in each monthly edition. Our annual newsletter is already filling up with stories and updates. We are always looking for content so if you have a story to share, please let us know. A hard copy will be mailed to our community in July.
Finally – SAVE THE DATE for our first annual freshFACES event on Thursday, September 18, 2014. This fundraiser and cocktail party will be held at eSpace in Manhattan and is sure to be the talk of the town. Information on ticket sales will be made available in the coming months.
The FACES team is always here to be of assistance. Please do not hesitate to contact us.