Marci became involved with RSRT when her daughter, Gabriela (Gaby), was diagnosed with Rett syndrome in 2010. Gaby was diagnosed with autism around the age of 3, but Marci never felt Gaby fit that diagnosis. For years she researched and met with specialists, both in the United States and abroad, to find answers. Finally, through a blood test, Gaby was diagnosed with Rett syndrome at the age of 17.
Marci immediately began researching Rett syndrome to educate herself and see how she could help raise awareness and money to find a cure. For the first time, the Valner family felt there was hope and something they could do to help Gaby and so many girls suffering from this terrible disorder.
Marci and her husband, Rudy, were introduced to Heidi and Jonathan Epstein through a mutual friend and soon joined forces to chair the Hope for Hannah and Gaby Gala in Los Angeles. Using her past fundraising experience, Marci reached out to her community and network to get most everything donated for the event to keep costs to a minimum. The Los Angeles event has grown to be the most successful Rett fundraiser in the world, raising over $1.3 million in 2018. Danielle and Alex, Gabriela’s sister and brother, co-chair the junior committee for the Los Angeles event and are instrumental in its success. A cure for Rett syndrome is a priority for the Valner family.
Marci received her bachelor of arts from UCLA in political science and her master’s degree in public administration from USC. She worked in banking until her children were born. She then became a stay-at-home mom and played a very active role fundraising for her children’s schools, The Center for Early Education, Harvard Westlake, and University of Pennsylvania. Among her many roles she served as president of the parent association for The Center for Early Education as well as on the board of trustees. In addition to volunteering, after being frustrated by the limited academic options available to Gaby, Marci, along with another mother, started a school for children that focused on inclusion, communicating through typing, and self-development.
From 2010 to 2015 Marci’s career turned to direct sales for Worth New York, a women’s luxury clothing company. Beginning as director of business development for Los Angeles, her region increased sales over 100%. She next became regional director of California, where Marci managed a larger sales force and oversaw growth for the state. Her region reached top sales in the country.
Marci speaks fluent Spanish. Her hobbies are travelling, exercising, bridge, and reading.