FAST Australia – Building Community and Finding a Cure
FAST Australia, one of the first branches of FAST, was founded in 2010 by a group of determined and dedicated parents of children with Angelman syndrome (AS) led by Meagan Cross and Jennifer Kyriacou. In 2008, after months of searching for answers, at 13 months of age Meagan’s second child, Molly was diagnosed with AS. The first night of the diagnosis, Meagan came across a paper by Dr. Edwin Weeber about how genetic engineering rescued certain aspects of the AS phenotype in mice. She immediately emailed him and connected with Paula Evans, Chairperson and founder of FAST in the United States. This is when the vision for FAST Australia was born. Around the same time, Jennifer was looking for answers for the developmental delays in her daughter Lucy. At the age of one, Jennifer met with a developmental pediatrician who suggested genetic testing, which confirmed AS. After Lucy’s diagnosis, Meagan and Jennifer connected with other like-minded Australian parents and founded FAST Australia with its own Board of Directors and Scientific Advisory Board who were experts in their disciplines. Goals of FAST Australia:
- Assist individuals living with AS to realize their full potential;
- Complement the work done by FAST in the US to find treatments that will improve the symptoms of Angelman syndrome; and
- Research to find a cure.