Natalie Fregoso is our President/CEO. She began serving on the board in 2014 as Secretary. She is a Legal Assistant for an estate planning law firm, wife and mother of two. Natalie could tell there was cause for concern for her youngest daughter, Gabrielle, when she was only four months of age. The family doctor wasn’t as concerned, but never doubt a mother’s intuition. Natalie kept voicing her concerns and was finally referred to a neurologist. The attentive neurologist immediately agreed with her concerns, did an MRI and Gabrielle was diagnosed with Bilateral Diffused Polymicrogyria in February of 2014. Gabrielle symptoms from the PMG are tonic clonic seizures, cerebral palsy, severe developmental delays, microcephaly, solely G-tube fed and non-verbal. The family is very involved in their church and trust that standing together, and in prayer, we will unlock the mysteries of PMG.
Danielle Peacock is our Chief Financial Officer. She previously volunteered as the Family Support Specialist and served on the board as the Director of Public Relations. She is the proud mother of two living children and one no longer with us. Her youngest, Luke, began missing milestones as early as six months old. While most believed that he would catch up to his peers in time, Danielle’s concerns remained. Luke was diagnosed with polymicrogyria at 16 months old after a MRI. With the assistance of a helpful doctor, Danielle found the PMG Awareness Organization shortly after. Immediately, she found the connection and community that she was searching for. The lack of awareness and knowledge surrounding polymicrogyria, even when it came to medical professionals, inspired Danielle to get involved with the organization. Her mission is to make polymicrogyria a household name so no family feels lost upon diagnosis. She knows that invaluable wisdom comes from others that have traveled the same journey and that when it comes to polymicrogyria, none of us walk (or roll) alone.
Abigail (Abby) DiPasquale is our Secretary. She and her husband, Doug, are raising two amazing daughters in rural Maine. Due to complications from HELLP Syndrome, her oldest daughter, Olivia, was born 4 weeks premature in 2007. Olivia struggled with eating at birth and continued to struggle to meet milestones throughout her first year. Abby and Doug repeatedly raised their concerns about her delays, but pediatricians attributed them to her premature birth. At her one-year checkup, doctors recognized that Olivia was not developing as they anticipated. They recommended a visit to a geneticist, who promptly ordered an MRI. The MRI showed that Olivia had bilateral polymicrogyria, pachygyria, partial agenesis of the corpus collosum, and microcephaly. The multiple brain malformations have resulted in global developmental delays, cerebral palsy, and a limited vocabulary. At the time of Olivia’s diagnosis, there was very little knowledge of PMG (as there still is) and no social media options to turn to for making connections or gathering information, so they were left with lots of questions and feeling very
Further genetic testing did not reveal the “why” the brain malformations had occurred. Abby and Doug made the decision to stop looking for reasons and start moving forward with this new version of their lives and figure it out along the way. Abby and Doug have always advocated for early and continued intervention and push for Olivia to try as many things as possible. Olivia began walking when she was 4, started adaptive skiing when she was 5 and can say/sign many single words. She loves to perform ballet in their living room and believes herself to be a master celloist! Her development remains that of a 2–3- year-old, but she continues to work hard and surprise everyone along the way with what she can accomplish.
Abby’s involvement with the PMG Awareness Organization began when she stumbled upon the Facebook group while looking for resources on what to do when your special needs child enters puberty (ugh). She began following the Facebook Page and participated in a few Coffee Chats, which helped to connect her with other families and show her that they are not alone in this journey. When the opportunity arose to become involved on the Board, she was eager to join. She hopes her involvement with PMG Awareness Organization will help spread awareness of PMG and further connect families to one another to share in resources, support, and friendship.
Abby has worked in Public Health for many years and is a health educator and public speaker focusing on mental health, nutrition, personality conflicts, and thriving in the face of adversity. Along with Olivia, she and Doug are raising a neurotypical child, Evangeline (Gigi) who is 5 years younger than Olivia.
Austin Patrick is our Program Director. She currently lives in South Carolina with her husband, Rusty, three sons, Lock, JD and Wells, and dog, Otis. She loves being surrounded by her boys!
During Austin’s pregnancy with her second son, JD, doctors discovered an enlarged brain ventricle during her anatomy scan. A MRI was performed the day after JD was born which is when he was diagnosed with Polymicrogyria and Hemimegalencephaly, both affecting the right side of his brain. Austin is thankful that they were able to get plugged-in with resources right away. One of her biggest resources was her sister’s friend who has a son a few years older with PMG. It was that friend that introduced her to PMG Awareness. Austin dove into learning more about PMG and connecting with the PMG community.
Austin has worked in several different marketing capacities over the last 15+ years. She hopes that her previous work experience and her passion for helping unlock the mysteries of PMG will help her be successful as the organization’s Program Director.