Nick Wallace, the 17-year old founder of Nick’s Picks, spoke to over 150 employees at Intercept Pharmaceuticals Feb. 28 Nick was born with biliary atresia, a pediatric liver disease, and at the age of 13, received a life-saving liver transplant. Intercept is evaluating a therapy that could one day be delivered to patients such as Nick to treat the liver disease.
“I was honored to speak to the team at Intercept and tell my story,” said Nick. “I feel lucky to have received my liver transplant, but it is very exciting to think that there could soon be a therapy that could treat biliary artesia. I wanted to convey to the team at Intercept how appreciative I am of their efforts.”
Nick was invited to speak by Janet Owens-Grillo, Ph.D., principal scientist at Intercept. The presentation was held at Intercept’s La Jolla office. Intercept is focused on the development and commercialization of novel therapeutics to treat progressive non-viral liver diseases, including biliary atresia.
“Our biliary atresia team is working extremely hard to find a treatment for this rare disease and it always makes the job easier when we can make a direct connection with the patients we are trying to help,” said Owens-Grillo. “Nick is truly inspirational in his outlook on life and the fact that he has already become a leader in the community. To be only 17 and have experienced all that he has and yet be a mentor and a founder of a charitable organization providing hope and inspiration to chronically ill children, their families, and those who have simply had the good fortune to meet Nick, is simply amazing.”
Nick, a Del Mar resident and Torrey Pines High School student, founded Nick’s Picks, a 501c3 charity in 2012 — the same month he received a successful liver transplant at the UCLA Medical Center. Nick’s Picks delivers backpacks filled with a dozen games, toys and comfort items that Nick felt most useful when living in hospitalization isolation. Every day the charity is out working to help children cope with a life-threatening illness. Nick’s Picks is funded by sponsors and donors. For more information on Nick’s Picks and how to donate to the charity or sponsor a backpack for delivery to a hospitalized youth, please visit www.nickspicks.org.