January 2013

January 2013 FACES E-Newsletter

  1. A Message from Our Staff
  2. Meet Alyssa Giorgio
  3. Nutrition Corner by Dietician Courtney Schnabel, MS, RD, CDN
  4. PEACE OF MIND Lecture Series & Annual Epilepsy Conference- SAVE THE DATE
  5. SUDEP Bill Release
  6. Fundraising Corner



Dear Friends of FACES,

When a New Year arrives people are thinking of new changes and new resolutions. As the FACES community stands together strong with our mission to “Find a Cure”, the March 5, 2013 Gala will be more meaningful than ever. FACES is determined to lessen the burden of epilepsy and improve the quality of life for all people affected.

May the year 2013 bring happiness and success. May it be filled with peace, hope & togetherness with your family & friends.

Best Wishes,
The FACES Team


Alyssa Giorgio joins FACES at NYU Medical Center as a Manager of Special Events with event planning and fundraising experience from both non-profit and for-profit organizations in New York City.

After graduating from the University of Delaware with a major in communications, Alyssa developed her event planning skills at Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, a non-profit organization on Manhattan's Lower East Side serving the community with social services and educational programs, while also engaging residents in public and political events. At Two Bridges, Alyssa created and executed the first annual Marco Polo Day to celebrate the immigrant communities of Little Italy and Chinatown. The event recognized the designation of the appointed Chinatown/Little Italy National Register Historic District in 2009, and has since grown into an annual weekend festival each October. Alyssa decided to follow her passion for events and began working at Colangelo & Partners Public Relations. In her time at Colangelo, Alyssa managed client campaigns for various organizations and brands including, but not limited to; consumer and industry events, media relations, website development, and social media networking. Alyssa worked directly with clients ranging from food specialties, online retailers, restaurants, wines and spirits, to create specific work plans and execute various events.

Most recently, Alyssa has been a part of the Manhattan distinguished events team at the American Cancer Society, where she was responsible for planning industry specific galas to generate income for the mission and programs of the organization. Since joining the American Cancer Society in 2011, Alyssa has managed key elements of the Financial Services Cares Gala and the Wine + Spirits Industry's Gala, increasing fundraising levels each year and forming valuable relationships with both new and long standing committee members. She implemented new strategies surrounding auction and event execution, which ultimately contributed to elevating the Financial Services Cares Gala beyond the $1.5 million dollar mark in both 2011 and 2012, and raised $630,000 at this past 35th Anniversary Wine + Spirits Industry's Gala.

Alyssa is thrilled to enter her new role at FACES, and looks forward to working with the incredible partners and committee members of the organization.


By: Dietician Courtney Schnabel, MS, RD, CDN

Start 2013 off right with these fresh, delicious and healthy recipes!

Grilling, broiling and baking lean proteins are the best way to keep them low calorie and healthy. Although these cooking methods may not always be the most exciting, chimichurri is a low calorie, low carbohydrate sauce that will spruce up your grilled/baked or broiled chicken, fish, steak or lamb. Make sure to choose the leanest cut of meat to keep calories and saturated fat to a minimum (see below tips to choosing the leanest meat). The mint in chimichurri is said to help with digestion and stomach ailments and the olive oil provides an excellent source of heart healthy unsaturated fatty acids. Swiss chard was featured in our November/December newsletter, but because it’s in season and is packed with nutrients we decided to make it a yummy side dish sure to please! If you’re already sick of Swiss chard, substitute spinach instead, which is also a nutrition powerhouse! Both spinach and Swiss chard are excellent sources of vitamins K, A, and C, as well as a good source of magnesium, potassium, iron.

Tips to choosing lean meats:

  • For red meat:
    • Look for the piece of meat with the least amount of marbling (marbling refers to the whitish matter seen throughout red meat)
      When choosing ground meat, opt for the lowest percentage of fat (ie 95% or 99% lean)
    • Cuts of beef considered extra lean by the USDA are; Eye of round roast or steak, sirloin tip side steak, top round roast and steak, bottom round roast and steak top sirloin steak
    • “Choice” or “Select” cuts are usually lower in fat than “Prime”
  • For poultry
    • White meat is always leaner than dark meat (and red meat). Choose meat from the breast area of poultry.
    • Avoid organ meat
  • For fish
    • Fish is usually the lowest calorie animal protein and has the least amount of saturated. One exception is fatty fish (Salmon, Rainbow Trout, Halibut), which contain slightly more calories but are an excellent source of the heart healthy fat Omega-3s! Health experts suggest eating fatty fish once or twice per week as a source of omega 3s.

Mint Chimichurri Sauce:
Makes 4 servings (approximately 2 tablespoons = 1 serving)

1 cup fresh mint
½ cup fresh flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons low sodium chicken broth
1 ½ tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons minced shallots
2 garlic cloves minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper


  1. Combine mint, parsley, oil, broth, vinegar, shallots, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor until blended.
  2. Use over a grilled protein of your choice (lean steak, fish or chicken!)

Nutrition Facts (per serving: 2 tablespoons): 70 calories, 7g of fat, 1.5g of net carbohydrate, 2g protein

Swiss Chard with Crème Fraiche
Makes 8 side dish servings

1 ½ pounds Swiss chard
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup crème fraiche
¼ teaspoon salt
Black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped onion


  1. Remove stems and center ribs from chart and cut ribs and stems into ½ inch pieces and set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add stems and ribs, cook for 5 minutes. Stir in leaves and cook for another 2 minutes or until leaves wilt
  3. Drain very well, pressing chard to remove all water
  4. Heat oil and onions in pan until onions are clear. Add chard, crème fraiche, salt, pepper and cook for about 4 minutes until tender.

Nutrition Facts (per serving: ½ cup serving size): 64 calories, 5.5g fat, 3g net carb (if removing the onion, only 2.7g net carb), 1.7g protein.


FACES is pleased to introduce a series of cost-free events in support of patients, caretakers and parents who are dealing with the daily challenges of epilepsy and seizures. Our Peace of Mind events are intended to provide education, tools and resources, insight and possibly a new perspective to a community who are the foundation of the FACES family.

Peace of Mind Lecture Series

Wednesday, January 23, 2013: Diet Therapy and Epilepsy
Presented by: Courtney Schnabel ,MS, RD, CDN

Tuesday, March 19, 2013: Mood Disorders and Epilepsy
Presented by: Dr. Scott Hirsch

Wednesday, June 20, 2013: Navigating the School System
Presented by: Gary S. Mayerson, Attorney at Law

The Annual Epilepsy Conference is open to anyone interested in learning about news on epilepsy and seizures – patients, caregivers, parents and medical professionals alike. There is no cost to attend this daylong event.

Annual Epilepsy Conference: Sunday, May 5, 2013

If you are interested in attending any of these events please call 646.558.0900 or email

Jacqueline A. French, MD, Named President of American Epilepsy Society



Dr. Devinsky joined FACES friends Chris & Kelly Kirby and Gardiner Lapham to testify in support of a bill to improve research advances for SUDEP (Sudden, Unexpected Death In Epilepsy) in Trenton, NJ on Dec 17th, 2012. Letters of support were also provided by the Epilepsy Foundation, the Epilepsy Therapy Project, and the Epilepsy Institute.

According to a press release issued by the Senate Health, Human Services & Senior Citizens Committee: “The bill would require medical examiners to include, as part of their investigation into the cause of death, questions that would determine if the person in question had epilepsy. If a medical examiner’s findings in an autopsy are consistent with the definition of known or suspected SUDEP, the medical examiner would be required to indicate SUDEP as the cause or suspected cause of death and request from the authorized survivors of the decedent that the decedent’s relevant medical information be sent to a SUDEP registry. The medical examiner would also be required to make a request to the decedent’s family member that the brain be donated to help facilitate research.”

Chris and Kelly Kirby lost their son Bobby to SUDEP and Gardiner Lapham lost her son Henry to SUDEP as well. The committee approved the bill by a vote of 10-0. It now heads to the full Senate for a vote.


GALA 2013

FACES Gala 2013 is scheduled for Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers. Cocktails and silent auction will start at 6:30pm, followed by dinner and program at 8:00pm. Leon and Tzili Charney, pillars of business and philanthropic communities, will serve as Gala Chairs, and we are further delighted that Leon Charney will be the honoree, Roger Erickson will serve as the Auction Chair and Seth Meyers of Saturday Night Live as the Master of Ceremonies. Funds raised from the evening will provide for life- enhancing programs in cutting-edge research, clinical care, education and awareness programs, and community building events.


FACESforward has raised $235,000 since 2010. In 2013, with your help, we hope to double that amount. All donations to FACES and FACESforward are fully tax-deductible. Please visit our FACESforward WEBSITE to make a CONTRIBUTION

Teens Raise 2K for Epilepsy Charity as Part of ‘Fudgeraiser‘