Austin, Texas – October 5, 2015– The Beyond Batten Disease Foundation celebrated a family-fun night at Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels in September to raise funds to find treatments or a cure for juvenile Batten disease. The waterpark was closed for the private event, giving families’ access to the park’s waterslides with no lines. Attendees also enjoyed the Skycoaster, a combination skydiving, hang-gliding thrill ride where you fly over the park.
By Maria Edible on Narratively
Published on August 10, 2015
Sammie stares out the window, where the sun is just starting to replace the rain. Around her neck: a raspberry, pig-shaped pillow. She groans faintly as her mother places a tissue between her teeth to prevent a bitten lip, then covers her nose and mouth with a clear mask that has jagged pink projections — dinosaur spikes, simultaneously innocent and stern. Her feet are pointed, toes curled. A symptom of immobility, her mother calls them “ballerina feet.” Sammie’s arms twitch slightly as a small compressor starts up, emitting a sound like a muffled lawnmower.
The dino mask administers Pulmicort, a steroid that helps loosen mucus, which accumulates due to Sammie’s lack of motion. The twice-a-day treatment raises her oxygen levels in order to facilitate breathing and minimize the chance of pneumonia.
By Abby Roddel on Austin.com
Published on July 24, 2015
Austin mom Charlotte Benson has a 12-year-old girl named Christiane who is facing an incredibly challenging life. There are no treatments yet for Christiane’s condition. No cure. She has juvenile Batten disease, a rare neurodegenerative brain disorder. This means that Christiane’s neuronal cells are deteriorating. Along with them, her ability to see, walk, and talk is expected to degrade. Christiane is currently losing her vision, relying more on her other senses as her world becomes increasingly blurred, and will likely suffer from seizures, personality changes and ultimately mental and physical incapacity.
Austin, TX – July 15, 2015 – Beyond Batten Disease Foundation (BBDF) is pleased to announce Craig Benson’s appointment to the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute (NRI) International Advisory Board. Consistent with BBDF’s strategy and goals to connect our research with top-ranked institutions, Craig is eager to join the NRI in its mission.
The NRI at Texas Children’s Hospital aims to reduce the temporal and conceptual gap between initial gene discovery and clinical applications by providing the context, core services, and community to support interdisciplinary collaborations between physicians, scientists, and patients. Designed to advance the understanding of neurological disorders, such as Batten disease, through basic and translational research and ultimately mitigate the impact of these devastating disorders on human life, the NRI has been integral in BBDF’s success.
Austin, Texas – June 9, 2015 – Beyond Batten Disease Foundation (BBDF) announces groundbreaking research published in Nature Cell Biology. The lysosome biology research is leading the way to a cure for juvenile Batten Disease.
“We think this research is our strongest candidate for therapeutic development for juvenile Batten Disease and understanding lysosome biology is the way to find a cure for this devastating disease,” said Danielle M. Kerkovich, PhD, BBDF Principal Scientist.
Have you ever wondered if you are relevant, significant, or if anything you do really matters? Sometimes I get moving so fast, occupied with my daily activities, and whirling in a million directions, that I wonder at the end of the day, if any of it really mattered…….does anything I do count?
I received a card in the mail the other day from Whitney, a childhood friend, and the cover read: “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible” – Francis of Assisi.
That gave me pause for reflection because certainly Craig and I know that Beyond Batten Disease Foundation was created by a “necessary” response to give hope to our child, Christiane. What came next was the “possible” with the creation of the foundation and the extraordinary contributions of our friends and community. While our destination is certainly to accomplish the” impossible,” what’s striking to me is how amplified that concept becomes when an entire community is simultaneously contributing to that phenomena.
Austin, Texas – May 12, 2015 – Beyond Batten Disease Foundation has become a participating organization of The Research Acceleration and Innovation Network (TRAIN), a program of FasterCures, bringing the total number of venture philanthropies in TRAIN to 80.
FasterCures established TRAIN in 2005 to connect innovators in the disease research space with the vital resources, tools and relationships to catalyze development of new therapies and cures. Through the network, innovation in one disease area is translated to another in order to achieve treatment breakthroughs for all.
“We are pleased to expand our fight against juvenile Batten disease by becoming a partner in TRAIN to transform juvenile Batten disease research and accelerate our timeline to a cure,” said Danielle M. Kerkovich, PhD, BBDF Principal Scientist.
By Quita Culpepper on KVUE
Published on April 10, 2015
AUSTIN – A run will be held this weekend to help benefit a girl with a rare disease.
The Beyond Batten Disease Foundation was founded by Craig and Charlotte Benson to find a cure for Batten disease and prevent hundreds of similar rare genetic diseases that claim the lives of thousands of children every year.
When Christiane was born, the Bensons made it their mission to fill her life with love.
“She’s still daddy’s little girl,” Craig said.
When Christiane turned five, her parents noticed she was having trouble reading and thought she needed glasses. Instead doctors gave them heartbreaking news.
“We ultimately got the unfortunate diagnosis of Batten disease,” Charlotte said.