Giving Back

Livingston Resident's Keto Kids Club to Host First Annual Event for Families Dealing with Epilepsy

85fbfaaafb4e3c11836f_lor_y.JPG
The Yucht Family Credits: Keto Kids website
924657c4378be1e37d4f_KetoKidsClubLogo_web2.jpg
85fbfaaafb4e3c11836f_lor_y.JPG

LIVINGSTON, NJ — When 11-year-old Alexander Yucht experienced his first major seizure in 2010, his father knew Alex had inherited the childhood epilepsy that he suffered from for several years. Livingston father-of-two Scott Yucht, alongside two mothers in similar situations with their own kids, created a family-friendly support system called the Keto Kids Club that will hold its first annual event on Oct. 22 at the Livingston Ambulatory Care Center.

Scott and his co-founders Michelle Sanders and Renee Klein quickly discovered that there are additional and alternative treatment options for neurological disorders like epilepsy than expensive medications. Together they created the Keto Kids Club to support children and their families using a dietary treatment called the Ketogenic Diet, which in Yucht and Sanders’ cases improved the symptoms of the disorder and for Klein, this dietary plan is a way of life.

“This is a very difficult and isolating diet—you’re basically the little baby bird that gets pushed out of the nest and either you fly or you splat on the ground,” said Yucht. “We felt there was a tremendous need for a little cushion to break the fall.”

Sign Up for E-News

Even though the strict change in diet helped these families, Scott said there were no resources or support systems for families to be able to help each other through this difficult transition. According to Scott, the Keto Kids Club event in Livingston will create an environment for parents and kids to get to know and help each other.

Alex, whose story began when he was rushed to a hospital after passing out the parking lot of a supermarket, is one of many children who endured the overnight adjustment no-carb, no-sugar diet. In order to experience the dramatic and immediate effects of the Ketogenic Diet, epileptic kids like Alex wake up one morning to find that kid-friendly foods like pasta, cereal, bread, most fruits, ice cream and even many vegetables are suddenly eliminated from their daily intake.

On the other hand, kids like Alex also discover almost immediately that not only have their seizures lessened or disappeared, but that their memory has also improved, they are progressing in school, they have more energy during the day and that many other symptoms have subsided regardless of their medication. According to Scott, although the Ketogenic Diet is not successful for everyone, the effects dramatically improve the overall quality of many children’s lives. Scott finds it frustrating that there are other options than medication for many neurological diseases, but that some parents make excuses as to why they are unwilling to try.

“Not nearly enough people know about it or are trained properly to be able to do it and it’s overwhelming,” said Yucht. “People get very scared and overwhelmed and end up quitting the diet because they can’t do it and don’t know where to turn or when to get help. That’s where we came from.”

According to Scott, the Keto Kids Club event will feature a Kids Panel for kids to share their stories, presentations from three doctors, an author from Harvard University, well-known Ketogenic food vendors, cooking demonstrations and a cocktail reception.

Scott, speaking from his own experience with childhood epilepsy, saw improvements in his son and wished his parents had known about the dietary treatment when he was young. According to Scott, he has a very vivid memory of his life before medication and of life after medication, but many details during the seven years he was on medication are missing from his memory. Had Keto Kids Club existed the, Scott said things may have been drastically different.

“I think I would’ve had a lot more options and opportunities,” said Yucht. “It would’ve given me an opportunity to not have to look for medication because I have a lot of side effects now as an adult that are a result of the medication I took as a child—and I think that I wouldn’t have had those.”

Looking back, Scott recalls that academics were still difficult even though the medication was reducing his seizures. In Alex’s case, he immediately began to regain clarity and memory and was able to retain more information in school without ever reducing or changing his medication.

“Just because I wasn’t seizing every night doesn’t mean that that activity wasn’t affecting my brain to be able to function normally every single day,” said Yucht. “I think that my overall life at that time would’ve been improved because my brain function would’ve been improved.”

Alex, who has been on this dietary plan for some years, said he has seen more changes in his daily life than just the absence of seizures. According to Scott, Alex had come to a point where he had stopped progressing in school when he used to perform at an exceptional level. Scott said that without the significant and immediate effects of the Ketogenic Diet, Alex might have continued to fall behind in his studies.

Now that he is more focused in school, has more energy throughout the day, regained a clear memory and has not had any seizures, Alex is committed to staying on track with his diet.

“[Alexander] is one of the most remarkable children that I have ever met,” said Yucht. “He has never once asked ‘why me,” he has never once complained, he has never cried over it and he just does it. He’s never cheated, so much so that at times he’s been overly strict on himself, he is only 11 and he has never cheated—not even a crumb.”

Scott said that he hopes the Keto Kids Club event will prevent families from experiencing some of the things the Yucht family had to. On Oct. 22 the Ambulatory Care Center will host up to 100 people who will enjoy informational seminars, cooking demonstrations, a cocktail reception and a recipe contest. Kids less than 16 years old will be admitted free of charge.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Millburn/Short Hills

Millburn Recreation Accepting Memberships for Pool, Tennis and Golf

February 19, 2018

MILLBURN, NJ - The Millburn Township Recreation Department announced that it is accepting memberships for the township pool, tennis and golf facilities. The memberships are available to all Millburn Township residents and the applications are available online.

The membership application can be accessed at http://www.twp.millburn.nj.us/DocumentCenter/View/3258 or go ...

Millburn Police Investigate Theft by Nordstrom Employee

February 14, 2018

Press Release February 13, 2018

 

On February 6, 2018 Millburn Police Officer Royce stopped a 2009 Jaguar XKR as it exited the mall for having no front plate. The investigation led to the arrest of 50 year old Christopher Garibian of Morristown on an outstanding traffic warrant out of Morris Township. Mr. Garibian was placed under arrest, issued summonses, and released after posting ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 12

On this week’s episode of AtlantiCast, decade of excellence makes headlines, as Atlantic Health’s place on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List leads off the newest episode of AtlantiCast. Also on this week’s show, check out the newest “hybrid” operating room at Morristown Medical Center and find out how Atlantic Health is helping local ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_4f8324cc0a175d48b73e_bbc4a05ee6841cf55043_martamcdowell-photo-by-marco-ricca

Sun, February 25, 2:00 PM

Greenwood Gardens, Short Hills

All the Presidents’ Gardens Talk & Book Signing ...

Home & Garden

Carousel_image_f26368aa9b02b695afce_3fc10d7c6037ec8915fb_0952ca79b18478625c5395f2431688f1

Mon, February 26, 7:45 PM

Education Center, Millburn

Millburn Board of Education Meeting

Carousel_image_61e402c79011d14d92ba_b01211242c63812560cd_networking

Tue, February 27, 8:15 AM

Congregation Bnai Israel, Millburn

JBN Presents: Women's Networking in Millburn

Business & Finance

Carousel_image_5718d79858b08ed16e52_stjameswhiskeydinner-1-1170x1170

Tue, February 27, 7:00 PM

St. James's Gate, Maplewood

Tullamore Dew Whiskey Dinner at St. James's Gate ...

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

The Mall at Short Hills to Host Spring Fashion Preview

February 25, 2018

The Mall at Short Hills to Host Spring Fashion Preview

View the latest spring fashions styled by national fashion expert Gina LaMorte

SHORT HILLS, N.J., Feb. 23, 2018 – On Saturday, March 10, The Mall at Short Hills will host a spring fashion preview styled by national fashion expert Gina LaMorte. Two presentations will be held at 1 and 3 p.m. in Grand Court and will ...

Millburn Recreation 2018 Spring/Summer Program Registration Now Open

The Millburn Recreation Department is currently accepting registration for their Spring/Summer programs and SUmmer Camps.  e sure to register your child as soon as possible because space in all programs is limited.

Please see our website at http://www.twp.millburn.nj.us/Recreation for more information, or you can visit our documents page with all of our registration forms ...

Tullamore Dew Whiskey Dinner at St. James's Gate in Maplewood on Feb. 27

Join Tullamore Dew and St. James's Gate for a 5 course whiskey dinner on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m.

5 courses with 5 whiskies.

The menu is as follows:

Sea Urchin 2 ways
Scallop crudo in shell
Whiskey injected oysters
Squid ink gnocchi, head on prawn and kobe beef
Whiskey creme Anglaise filled chocolate dipped ricotta doughnut

Call 973-378-2222 to reserve your ...