Arterial Challenge 2011

The main reason Dave and I traveled to Massachusetts this Memorial Day weekend was to participate in the
10th Annual Arterial Challenge Run and Walk to benefit research and awareness for brain aneurysms through the Brain Aneurysm Foundation in MA.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a ruptured brain aneurysm survivor and two years after my rupture, we lost Dave’s niece to a massive rupture. So, we’re very involved with trying to raise awareness so that perhaps some lives can be saved. We also have our own walk in September in memory of Kim and to raise money for research and awareness. In fact, at one point along the walk, before Kim’s name was even mentioned, I felt her hand in mine and felt her right beside me. It was strange and wonderful at the same time.

I was also looking forward to meeting up with a fellow survivor. Julie and I came to know one another because we had the same Dr. perform our life-saving coilings back in 2006 in Maine. She has participated in our walk and we’ll both be “celebrating” our 5 year annie-versaries this year. We befriended one another on a message board, and she also befriended another survivor, Lori, who would be at the walk as well.

We all met up in the registration area. Thankfully, although it was still warm and muggy out, it was a cloudy morning. Perfect weather for a walk and run. We were participating in the walk part of the day. It was a 1.5 mile walk through a lovely area of Humarock, MA along the ocean.

Everyone received their t-shirts for the walk and we started promptly at 9:30. We all chatted throughout the walk and took it at our own pace….pretty slow. LOL Hey, I just had a brain procedure about 4 weeks ago, Julie still has issues and Lori is a damned walking miracle and is about to undertake her 5th (I think!) open brain surgery in a couple of weeks. Slow was just perfect for us.

It was nice to get to know Lori. She’s been through such a tremendous ordeal. Something like 10 titanium clips have been used on her one aneurysm, which is a massive 4cm. (about 1.5″). My 8mm one is barely 1/2 inch. She has endured so much and has such a fantastic attitude and is living life to the fullest! She is unable to perform her job, but her sense of humor has certainly remained fully intact and you have to love that. I won’t be complaining about my black and blue marks or my measly 5 pills I have to take every day anymore after meeting her. She showed us a list of about 15 pills she has to take…TWICE a day.

After the walk, many people who had participate in the walk and run met at local restaurant and chatted about their personal stories and congratulated one another for completing the walk or run. The sun even came out. A very nice gathering and good company.

Julie brought her mom who drove every day from MA to Portland after Julie had her rupture. They’re both very warm and outgoing women with great strength and passion. Lori was traveling from Florida with her very good friend Cindy. What a magnificent wealth of friendship Lori has in Cindy. I envy that. She is truly blessed and rich in that regard. Cindy is a gem. And I had Dave with me. My angel, my chauffeur, my go-to-guy and love. We’re ALL survivors….caretakers included.

According to their Facebook post, the Brain Aneurysm Foundation said this about the walk: “We had almost 600 participants, including 270 runners. Thanks to all the fundraisers and teams who helped The Brain Aneurysm Foundation raise over $50,000 at the Arterial Challenge.

I’d say that was a HUGE success! I think just having other survivors and caretakers meet with those who have gone through the same thing can bring great comfort and we can continue to spread the word about the signs and symptoms (if you’re lucky enough to have them) to the general public AND health professionals.

And I pray Julie continues to heal and solutions are brought forth to ease her discomfort. I also pray very hard for Lori who will undergo a serious bypass operation in June. She HAS to come through that because she’s going on a Disney cruise to Hawaii next April!