VictoriaVictoria Polega

President, Founder

Victoria’s fervor for philanthropy is contagious. She has worked extensively with numerous charities, including children’s advocacy centers and national centers to prevent child abuse. Her experience as an Office Manager and Setup Director for a foundation that assists the elderly, low income and individuals with disabilities have given Victoria operational experience for non-profit organizations.

A native Texan, Victoria graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in Applied Learning and Development. Her devotion to serving, carried into her classrooms where she taught her young students to be open-minded and community-oriented, through inclusion activities. These opportunities were the first time she encountered cerebral palsy. Years later when her son, Ben, was diagnosed with CP she knew she wanted to contribute to the community by helping other families gather information, gain resources and have continued support.

When she’s not immersed in helping CPATH thrive, she can be found playing legos with her boys, exploring Austin and scoping out travel deals.

For grants and family assistance please contact Victoria at victoria@cpathtexas.org

MarielleMarielle Deckard

Secretary, Founder

Marielle’s family moved to the United States from Lima, Peru when she was only five years old. Her family packed up everything they owned and left everything they knew to give Marielle and her siblings a better life. The courage that her mother had to leave home drives Marielle to embody that same inner strength in every aspect of her life.

“It teaches me, that I need to be like [my mother] and I can be like that too, with all the things that come along in our cerebral palsy path,” Marielle said.

Austin became home for Marielle, graduating from the University of Texas with a masters’ degree in civil engineering. With over 20 years of experience of supporting executives in the nine to five world, she uses her knowledge and experience to keep CPATH running smoothly and efficiently.

As a wife and mother of three boys, Marielle also keeps active in her children’s school activities, Cub Scouts, sports and being an advocate for her son.

Along with the strength she strives for daily, Marielle loves the shooting sports. She is a member of the Austin Sure Shots, a women’s pistol league. There she learns how to be aware of her surroundings and more secure in herself as well as finding camaraderie. The focus she developed to shoot well aids in keeping her focused on all the many tasks required of her, even when life gets hectic.

For volunteer opportunities please contact Marielle at: marielle@cpathtexas.org

JamieJamie Eppele

Founder

Jamie channels the slogan “Why Do You Tri?” every time she participates in a marathon or triathlon. For her, race events are multi-purposed: first, for personal growth and strength and second, for her kids. Her twin sons, Alexander and Lucas, have both cerebral palsy and autism. As a 2-time IronMan finisher and 5-time marathoner, every time she thinks she can’t take another step forward she thinks of her sons and how hard they worked to achieve their very first independent steps at age 5.  They remain her biggest inspiration.

When her twins received their diagnosis, she had no idea how cerebral palsy was going to affect their future.  She had many questions, but few resources.   She decided to do deep research, seek knowledge, and gain support both in the medical world and outside in the greater community.  She knew that she wanted to share her findings and help others along in their journeys with CP.

As part of CPATH, she loves seeing the continued impact the organization has on families and the community.  “These are families like mine — seeking friendships, support, guidance, resources, and more as we navigate life with a different ability on an adaptive path.”

For community events and partnerships, please contact Jamie at: jamie@cpathtexas.org

Jinfon_OngDr. Jinfon Ong, M.D.

Dr. Jinfon Ong graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in biochemistry in 1998. He also earned a master of science in human-computer interaction from DePaul University in Chicago. Dr. Ong later received his medical degree from Rush University (also in Chicago). He completed his pediatric residency at the University of Texas Southwestern, followed by fellowship training in child neurology at the University of Washington/Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Ong was most recently with Pediatric Surgical Subspecialists here in Austin, serving as the spasticity clinic co-director. He also acts as the medical director for the local Muscular Dystrophy Association Clinic. Dr. Ong is currently a faculty member for the Child Neurology residency program at Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin.

ChrissieChrissie Welty

Chrissie has known Victoria’s son Ben since he was born and was happy to have an opportunity to support CPATH’s growth efforts because of her own desires to give back to the Austin community.

Every time she gets an opportunity to serve the greater Austin community she takes it, because her employer, Apple Inc. provides opportunities to serve and match donations. Chrissie’s previous opportunities to give back include cleaning up the Loop 360 hiking trails and registration at the Austin Pride Walk.

Listening to music is Chrissie’s greatest hobby, and in any given month she will attend two or three live concerts or festivals. It doesn’t matter the type of music, but the craftsmanship of the music makes her feel alive.

Shelly Grabe

Shelly joined the CPATH board in the Winter of 2022. She is an autism parent and trained advocate.

Shelly has volunteered with AISD Schools and various Austin nonprofits for numerous years. She has been actively involved in raising over $14,000,000 for local non profits. She has experience advocating at local, state, and on national levels.

Shelly is also an experienced Real Estate Agent with 14 years working in the central Texas real estate industry. You will often find Shelly in burnt orange supporting her Texas Longhorns. She is an avid UT Football and Baseball fan. Hook ‘Em!

Marcie Ochsner 

Marcie has over 31 years of experience as a Physical Therapist. The past 17 years, she specialized in Pediatrics, where she found her passion for working with kids with special needs. She quickly fell in love and was completely amazed by their hard work and determination. Marcie retired from her full-time position in July 2021; however, plans to continue working in Pediatrics on a part-time basis.

Marcie and her husband raised 3 children. Her family is very committed to the United States Military. Between her husband and 3 children, they represent the Army, Navy and Marines.

In her spare time, Marcie enjoys spending time with her family and friends, volunteering for Special Olympics, traveling and working outside in her new home in the country. Marcie is very excited to serve on the CPATH Board and see the wonderful contributions that this organization makes for our kids and their families.

Natalie Sanchez

Shortly after Natalie’s daughter was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, she and her husband wanted to be involved with and give back to the cerebral palsy community.  They were introduced to CPATH and quickly found a home.

Born and raised in Houston, Natalie graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Public Relations.  She has worked in the non-profit, real estate, and software industries.  She loves spending time outdoors, exploring Austin, and traveling with her family.

Natalie has been an integral part of CPATH’s growth.  She and her family have participated in many group events and has actively fundraised for CPATH for the past 7 years. She is passionate about giving back to her community.   “If it weren’t for CPATH, I’d feel so alone on this journey. I hope I can help provide support to other families navigating this path the way CPATH has provided that support to my family.”

Justin Gould

Texas Methodist Foundation, Chief Development Officer
Justin holds a B.A. in business administration from Southwestern and completed his MBA at Willamette University. in 2004.

Justin has over eighteen years of experience cultivating philanthropic cultures, strategies, and practices of organizations with an emphasis on higher education, faith-based institutions, and community foundations. He is an expert in leading teams in donor management and client-facing activities, strategic planning, marketing and communications, and giving strategies.

He and his wife, Stacey live in Austin, Texas with their son and daughter, Carson and Parker.

KelliKelli Croll

Community Director

Kelli has over 13 years experience in pediatric physical therapy, with a specialized passion for neurological diagnoses. She has been involved with CPATH for over 5 years and is overjoyed to be a part of CPATH’s growth and progress. Her passion for helping kids motivates her to continue to learn and be more collaborative with her patient’s medical teams, for the benefit of everyone involved. Kelli is committed to promoting CPATH’s mission and values of inclusion and accessibility for those with cerebral palsy.

A devoted Texas Longhorn, she loves to watch all sports. She can also be found trying out new restaurants around town, listening to the great live music that Austin has to offer, traveling, or hanging out with her husband and 2 rescue dogs.  Contact Kelli at kelli@cpathtexas.org

NobleNobel Craig

Equipment Closet Manager

A graduate of the University of Texas with a B.A. in English and a B.S. in Radio Television Film, Nobel comes to CPATH after a career in Higher Education. After starting as a Financial Aid Rep, he moved to Director of Student accounts, and finished his time in the industry as Campus Vice President.

Through his friendship with Co-Founder Marielle Deckard, whom he met while coaching their son’s basketball team, Nobel became aware of and joined CPATH. Nobel is proud of the impact that CPATH allows him to make by helping families get the much needed medical equipment and supplies that they need. Teddy Roosevelt once said “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” Nobel is blessed with the prize of being a part of the CPATH team.

Nobel spends most Saturdays coaching his daughter’s soccer team and visiting comic book shops with his son. He enjoys traveling with his wife and kids.