Hometown: Riverside, CAGame: UCLA vs. Stanford
At the age of 2, Gabby experienced a six-hour seizure that nearly claimed her life. After rushing her to the hospital, Gabby’s parents learned that their daughter was suffering from a rare brain disease called hemimegalencephaly (HME). Due to a structural abnormality in her brain, Gabby was experiencing constant seizures, sometimes up to 300 a day.
Over the next 13 years, Gabby underwent two brain surgeries at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital to remove the part of her brain causing her seizures. Gabby, now 14, has been seizure-free since her latest procedure with UCLA pediatric neurosurgeon Aria Fallah, MD, in 2017.
“I don’t know many people who would have survived what she’s been through and been as strong as she’s been through it all,” Gabby’s father Rick says. “She’s my hero.”
To honor her strength and courage, Gabby has been named a UCLA Kid Captain.
“Being UCLA Kid Captain is a great opportunity for her to celebrate,” says Gabby’s mother Krista. “She loves being around people, she loves celebrating, having fun, dancing and [listening to] music. And for her to do some celebrating is a great day.”