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FACES Gala 2016

Monday, March 7, 2016
830 Supporters in attendance
$5M Raised

A Blockbuster Night for Progress in Epilepsy Care and Research

More than 830 friends of NYU Langone’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center gathered at the annual gala for FACES (Finding a Cure for Epilepsy and Seizures), raising over $5 million to support care and research. Chaired by actor Harrison Ford, the gala featured a live auction and included an update by Orrin Devinsky, MD, director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center and founder of FACES, on recent advances in research. 

Perhaps the most meaningful tribute to the evening’s impact came from Marshall Pires, a patient of Dr. Devinsky’s who has not had a seizure in over five years since having a neurostimulator device implanted. “I feel like I’ve been given an upgrade,” said Mr. Pires, describing how the treatment changed his life. “More doors are open to me and I can participate in more activities.”  

Emphasizing how the money raised through FACES has accelerated the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center’s groundbreaking research, Dr. Devinsky noted how he and his colleagues are in the early stages of one project that plans to sequence the genome of every person in New York City with epilepsy and another aimed at helping patients receive treatment tailored to their unique biology. “The connections that you have allowed us to create are breathtaking,” said Dr. Devinsky. “We hope that these efforts will inspire new ways to study and treat epilepsy.”

Mr. Ford spoke about his personal connection to Dr. Devinsky and FACES. “Nine years ago my daughter was admitted to NYU Langone to be treated for epilepsy, and she has not had a seizure since the day she left,” said Mr. Ford. My family and I are grateful for Dr. Devinsky's help and all the support that FACES provides for those who suffer from epilepsy and seizures."

Matt Stone, Angela Stone, Harrison Ford, Dr. Orrin Devinsky, Deborah Devinsky, Georgia Ford

The FACES Gala took place on Monday, March 7 at Pier Sixty at the Chelsea Piers. Laura Gould Crandall was honored for her role in passing legislation to support research in Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood syndrome. Leah and Michael Weisberg were gala underwriters and Melisa and Josh Fluhr were auction chairs. C. Hugh Hildesley, executive vice president of Sotheby’s, served as auctioneer for the evening. 

Gala Chairs and Honorees

Gala Chair: Harrison Ford
Honoree: Laura Gould Crandall, MA
Select Speakers: Laura Gould Crandall, MA; Harrison Ford; and Orrin Devinsky, MD


Laura Gould Crandall, MA

Laura Gould Crandall, MA

Laura Gould Crandall, MA is a research scientist in the Department of Neurology at the NYU School of Medicine, co-investigator of the SUDC Registry and Research Collaborative, and president and executive director of the SUDC Foundation. Laura is also a licensed physical therapist in New Jersey and New York. She earned her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from New York University in 1990 and 1996.

In 1997, Laura lost her first child, Maria, to Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC) at the age of 15 months.  After investigations led to inconclusive answers, Laura became convinced that the system could and should be changed to ensure more thorough examinations into childhood deaths. She began advocating for child death investigation legislation in New Jersey, playing an intrinsic role in the passing of two laws in 2000 and 2006.  In 2014, “The Sudden Unexpected Death Data Enhancement and Awareness Act” was signed into law by President Obama. At the SUDC Foundation, Laura strives to support families by upholding the mission of being the centralized resource for SUDC information, support, advocacy, and crucial research. Laura’s work has also been tremendously important to the epilepsy community, as a third of SUDC cases have a history of febrile seizure.

Laura is a member of the National Association of Medical Examiners, an advisory member of the National Sudden Death In the Young (SDY) registry, an executive board member of the North American SUDEP Registry (NASR), executive officer of the (Federal) Organization for Scientific Area Committees (OSAC), subcommittee for medicolegal death investigation, and board member of the National Forensic Science Commission’s subcommittee on medicolegal death investigation.

In 2015, she was the recipient of the “Portrait of Courage” award from the National Organization of Rare Disorders (NORD).

Laura lives in New Jersey with her three daughters, Lily, Abigail and Grace.

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Congratulations, Laura Gould Crandall

Messages from Our Community to the Evening's Honoree

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