Fern’s story proves Florey research is life-changing

Ground-breaking epilepsy research at The Florey means Fern Stevens no longer suffers from seizures.

Fern features in a new publication: Life-changing discoveries: Impact Report which showcases examples of The Florey’s life-changing research.

Fern with her parents, Jules Kryger and Philip Stevens

The report explains how Florey researchers Professor Chris Reid and Dr Lauren Bleakley’s analysis of epilepsy medications, published in the journal Epilepsia, identified drugs that caused rather than prevented seizures in children with Fern’s rare form of epilepsy.
Her condition caused her to have frequent seizures.

But once Fern’s parents, Philip Stevens and Jules Kryger, connected with Professor Reid and Dr Bleakley over Zoom, they realised Fern was taking one of the drugs that was detrimental to her epilepsy, and her prescription was changed.

“The Florey in that moment changed our lives,” Mr Stevens said.

“In three-and-a-half long years we hadn’t managed a single positive outcome for all our dedication and effort. Chris and Lauren’s research allowed us to stop Fern’s seizures almost instantly, and she has been seizure-free ever since.”

Professor Reid said it was a proud and rewarding moment.

Professor Chris Reid

“This is why we do what we do – to find ways to improve the lives of people with epilepsy.”

“Fern’s story gives us hope as we work to finding a cure for her condition,” Professor Reid said.

Florey Director Professor Trevor Kilpatrick said Fern’s remarkable transformation showed the true impact of Florey discoveries on the community.

“Many of the people who have shared their experiences in our impact report have faced unfathomable challenges,” Professor Kilpatrick said.

“All medical researchers hope that their work will translate to drugs, treatments or knowledge that will help improve the lives of everyday people. As Fern’s and the other stories covered in our report show, Florey scientists are truly making the world a better place through their work.”

Life-changing discoveries: Impact Report launches on Wednesday 22 May. It includes the stories of:

  • Sepsis survivor Mandy McCracken, who is keenly following Florey research into a treatment for sepsis
  • ‘John’, who has MND and shares his experience of diagnosis and the peace of mind he felt after connecting with The Florey
  • Suzanne Baxter, who is part of a clinical trial into the revolutionary Alzheimer’s drug lecanemab
  • Brianna Magdalani, who survived a stroke and has benefited from the Young Stroke Service at The Florey
  • Anthony Becker, the first person in the world to have a device implanted to counter his Crohn’s disease
    and more.

Media contact:
Kathryn Powley, Media and Communications Manager
[email protected] | 0456 666 271