Rochelle was given a tentative diagnosis of hypermobile EDS at the same time as her daughter in 2013. This diagnosis was the key to explaining 42 years of medical complexities and mysteries. While being followed by the genetics department at the University of Oklahoma, her daughter’s declining condition led to a whole exome sequencing trio in 2015 that revealed Rochelle and her daughter share an identical mutation on COL12A1. Further testing by the OU genetics department and the NIH was completed before their diagnosis of mEDS in 2017.
Along with her daughter, Whitney, Rochelle was the first to introduce a resolution for approval to the Oklahoma State House of Representatives to designate May as Ehlers-Danlos Awareness Month in Oklahoma in 2013. This resolution continues to be renewed through members of EDSOK on a yearly basis. Rochelle is an active member of EDSOK and serves as a moderator for their Facebook page as well as a scientific information liaison.
Rochelle received her Associate’s Degree in Biology from Connors State College in 2005, and her Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Management and Safety with a minor degree in Chemistry from Northeastern State University in 2007. Her efforts in environmental research have led to credit for scientific publication with researchers of the U.S. Geological Survey in 2015. She is currently working on her graduate degree in Medical Microbiology and Cellular Science through Oregon State University and the University of Florida.
Rochelle lives in Eastern Oklahoma with her husband, Lewis, and her fabulous felines, Crunchy and Chloe. She has three children, Clint, Austin, and Whitney, her son-in-law, Sean, and seven step-granddaughters. When she isn’t researching, studying, reading, or crocheting, she is a Certified Professional Coder (CPC) working in medical risk adjustment.