25th July, 2004

Elizabeth Owen,

26 Giovanna Court,

Castle Hill      2154

My son, Matthew suffered from epileptic seizures all of his life until June, 2003 when at this time Matthew was admitted to Westmead Children’s Hospital under Dr. Jayne Antony to introduce the Ketogenic Diet.  Matthew’s seizures ceased the day he began fasting and except for one possible seizure two weeks later, Matthew has been completely seizure free to our knowledge since this day.  Matthew’s seizures were becoming increasingly worse as we increased and tried different medications to the end, when he was collapsing to the ground approximately fifty times a day. For four months prior to the diet Matthew could not even attend school.On the day Matthew was released from Westmead Hospital on the Ketogenic Diet, we arrived home with the most expensive and best scales we could buy and all the equipment we thought we would need, determined that this diet was going to be a miracle.  We immediately began to design a lunch meal for Matthew, confident that we understood the diet and after receiving praise from the Dietician that I was dedicated and picked up the diet easily.  With my Partner, who I had been teaching as I learnt, we sat down with a calculator and started calculating.  Four hours later, with two of us working constantly, a lunch menu had been designed and Matthew received his lunch.  When I look back at it, it was a simple salad and cheese with a drink.  To live for two years on meals like this would have been very difficult to say the least. 

At this point, I would also like to add, that to continue to design meals using the method taught, the exact quantities of Protein, Fat and Carbohydrates would not have been achieved as it did not take into consideration that most foods contain all of these components.  We were only using the main component in each ingredient.  Therefore Matt would have had approximately the desired 12.6gm of Protein, 29 gm of Carbohydrate and 37gm Fat along with 39mls of MCT oil.Eight months earlier I had met Hans van der Wiel at Westmead Hospital whilst his son, Nicholas was being introduced to the Ketogenic Diet and Matthew was hospitalized four three weeks recovering from a four-hour seizure.  During this eight months we had had limited contact with Hans and his wife Alexandra, but enough to know the ketogenic diet was working for Nicholas.  Therefore, when Dr. Antony suggested the Ketogenic Diet for Matthew, I jumped at the opportunity and contacted Hans to tell him our news. The first night that we were home from hospital, Hans came over and installed a programme on my computer to allow us to design meals for Matthew easily and quickly.  We have never sat down since with a calculator and struggled to invent a meal.It has been thirteen months since this day and Matthew has been completely seizure free, to our knowledge.  Matthew has now been drug free for approximately eleven months and lives a perfectly normal life.  He now attends school virtually every day, rides his bike and motor bikes, swims and plays without constant supervision from an adult.  He has caught up on the time he missed at school and is even doing quite well.  We have a folder with 121 ketogenic diet meals for Matt to choose from, and if Matt wants a meal that has not been designed, we simply turn on the computer and within approximately ten minutes, sometimes less, we have the meal designed.  The meals Matt now enjoys are curries, quiches, fruit salads etc., a far cry from the original salad and cheese meal.Matt has never eaten anything that was not designed on this programme since that first lunch meal in thirteen months.  Never does he complain about this diet or ask to stop the diet.  When his Doctor suggested that he have an EEG and possibly start to come off the diet, Matt said to me as we left her rooms, “Mum I don’t want to risk ever having to sit down all the time again”.  Matthew can even prepare his own meals now, and has meals often bigger and more exciting than the family’s meals.

With this programme Matthew is receiving the exact quantities of all the components that make this diet work one hundred percent.  There is no guess work or approximates.  I believe this could be the reason other epileptic children have not been able to achieve a completely seizure free life. This diet has been our “miracle” and meeting Hans was meant to be.  \Without this programme I doubt we could have maintained this diet for this long, kept Matt drug and seizure free for this long and allowed Matt to have a normal life like most other children of his age. Just this weekend, Matt has been away with his Father riding a 100cc motor bike, without my consent, but he still was able to do it.With all my heart, I honestly believe that without prayers, faith, dedication and this programme we would never have achieved a healthy, happy and seizure free eleven year old boy.
We thank you Hans for your devotion and ability to design this incredible, easy to use ketogenic diet programme and the support you have given us along this journey.

I would be excited to tell Matt’s story to anyone considering this diet with the aid of your programme.I pray that your dream comes true and you can have this programme used by hospitals and families with children with epilepsy, so that they too can enjoy drug and seizure free lives.

Yours faithfully,

Elizabeth Owen