The Charlie Foundation to Help Cure Pediatric Epilepsy was founded in 1994 after twenty month old Charlie Abrahams, having endured multiple daily seizures, and failed every available anti-convulsant drug and one brain surgery, was cured of his epilepsy by the ketogenic diet at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The diet was undertaken despite resistance from the five pediatric neurologists he had seen.
When Charlie's parents realized that Charlie was but one of hundreds of thousands of children whose families were either not being informed, or being misinformed about dietary therapy, they started The Charlie Foundation in order to objectively provide this information and empower parents of those children, educate doctors, hospitals, dietitians, and nurses about proper implementation of the diet, and facilitate scientific research into its mechanisms.
Our progress has been significant. Today it has been confirmed in both vast anecdotal and Class 1 studies that the ketogenic diet improves most children with intractable seizures and, like Charlie, cures many. With our sponsorship, Medical Consensus Guidelines regarding the diet’s use and implementation were published in 2008. There are over 150 hospitals worldwide with ketogenic diet programs. We have additionally sponsored and run over 125 ketogenic diet seminars and training sessions, been involved in the publication of six books, produced one ABC television movie ("first do no harm"), been featured on Dateline NBC on three occasions, and been recognized in periodicals from "People Magazine," to the medical journal "Epilepsia."
Despite these efforts, the diet remains unavailable to most children. The fact remains that if a child’s seizures continue after 2-3 seizure medications have been trialed, the ketogenic diet should be considered. Today, many parents still medicate their children well beyond these guidelines and submit to other invasive procedures before learning those very children can get better by temporarily changing what they eat.
Our hope is that the information contained on this website will support educated decisions about treatment and implementation of dietary therapy for children and others with epilepsy.