November of 2012, Monica’s twin boy, Beckett was the first to be diagnosed at Texas Children’s Genetics Clinic with the gene mutation SYNGAP1 (6p21.3). When Beckett was 4 months old they noticed he was not meeting the same milestones as his twin sister. It was then, Monica began to try to find answers to help her son. She started to blog about his progress and this led to building a group of parents and caregivers that are now a strong support group.
Monica’s passion is to help support these families by raising awareness and creating a strong Foundation. Her hope is that someday it will lead to therapies for those individuals suffering the neurological effects of SYNGAP mutations. To read more about Beckett’s journey follow the link to MY SPECIAL BOY.
Monica retired from teaching in 2016 to work full time in rare disease advocacy and to run the organization she began to support the SYNGAP1 community. She is a graduate from East Texas Baptist University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology/Psychology (1991) and Secondary Certification in Education (1995). She has been an educator for the last 23 years. She is married to Chris Weldon and has five beautiful children, Haleigh (24), Taylor, USMC (21), Sawyer (19), and the twins Beckett & Pyper (8), all who are her inspiration. Over the last four years she has worked and volunteered with Global Genes, a non-profit out of California who’s mission is to eliminate the challenges of ALL Rare Disease.
After searching for years for the cause to their son Remi’s autism, Nicole and her husband Christophe were relieved to finally have the answer, but heartbroken that there was not a treatment available. When a chance came for Nicole to participate as treasurer of the Bridge the Gap SYNGAP Foundation and help make a difference for kids and families affected, as well as help her son’s cause, she eagerly accepted.
Nicole and her husband Christophe are Owners of Econocuts Landscape Management, a commercial and residential landscape company in the Houston Area. Prior to becoming business owners this past year, Nicole was Chief Financial Officer for McLarney Construction, Inc., a general contractor specializing in commercial office tenant improvement work in San Jose, California. She spent ten years in that role managing all aspects of the company’s accounting and financial forecasting. Prior to that she worked for Equity Office Properties REIT as Director of Regional Finance, Gap, Inc. as Manager of Planning and Portfolio Analysis in their IT Finance Department, and United States Gypsum Company as a corporate engineer and then Manager of Project Controls for their capital expansion program.
Nicole holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern University (1995) and an MBA in Finance and Management from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business (2002).
Nicole spends what free time she has left with her husband Christophe, and their three kids, Chloe (21), Christophe (12) and Remi (10).
Katy’s passion for children and education is what drove her to join Bridge the Gap – SYNGAP Education and Research Foundation. She graduated from Texas A&M in 2009 with a degree in Math and Science Education and has been working at Aragon Middle School in Cypress, Texas for 6 years.
Katy is a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, a professional organization for educators whose goal is to make a difference in the community and provide scholarships for other future educators.
In her free time you can find her outdoors with her husband – hiking or camping – and is the mother of a precious little girl! She is very excited to have the chance to make a difference by serving as Secretary and raising awareness for such a great cause.
Director At Large
Aaron is the parent of son with the SYNGAP mutation, autism and mild cerebral palsy. A clinical laboratory scientist with a masters in immunohematology from George Washington University, he is a retired naval officer after 29 years of military service. He will assist the foundation in the areas of clinical research, biotechnology and the newborn screening process. He resides in San Diego, CA with his wife, Monica, and their two teenage daughters.
Director At Large
Rebecca is a parent of a child with the SYNGAP mutation. She is our Foundations Patient Advocacy Leader and is a member of both the Development and Legislative Committees. Her roll is to coordinate our SYNGAP families members and provide education, communication and a direct contact with the foundation.
Olga Elizabeth C. Bothe
Founding Board Member
Olga’s son, Drew, was diagnosed with SYNGAP1 in June of 2013 at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. After almost five long years of searching for an answer to Drew’s development delay it was a relief to finally have a diagnosis. Although there is no specific therapy or treatment currently available she is determined to promote and facilitate further research to make a difference in the lives of families affected by this rare neurological disorder.
Olga has over 18 years of experience in the group health and employee benefits field specializing in marketing, sales and consulting. She is a Group 1 licensed agent in the State of Texas and has worked with Aetna, United Healthcare and Southwest Business Corporation. She attended The King’s Hospital Boarding School in Dublin, Ireland and Leinster College of Business to study French and Business Administration. Upon moving to Texas in the late 1980s she attended Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) studying Business Administration & Psychology. She is also a member of the National Charity League. Currently, the majority of Olga’s time is spent caring for her family and keeping up with medical and therapy appointments for Drew. During her limited free time Olga enjoys spending time with her husband, Mike, and their two children, Sara (12 yrs) and Drew (8 yrs) to include traveling and visiting family overseas.