A Compelling Story

You need to have a compelling story. That’s what we’ve been told our group (Maine Brain Aneurysm Awareness) needs in order to get some local television coverage. Webster’s dictionary’s definition of the word “compelling” is:

: very interesting
: able to capture and hold your attention
: capable of causing someone to believe or agree
: strong and forceful
: causing you to feel that you must do something

So, apparently no one feels the following examples are compelling enough to warrant at least one television or newspaper interview in the last 6 years?

  • A vivacious 32-year old died suddenly in her bathroom of a massive ruptured brain aneurysm three days after Christmas. She lived alone and was found the following morning by her devastated mother. (The KAT-Walk was created in her memory & honor)
  • The husband of a ruptured brain aneurysm survivor also lost his niece and sister-in-law to ruptured brain aneurysms.
  • A woman from New Hampshire was vacationing in Maine and suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm in Shaw’s Supermarket. After a misdiagnosis, she eventually went to Maine Medical Center where the only interventional radiologist in the state saved her life. A few years later, she also survived breast cancer and a double mastectomy.
  • A man suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm while home alone. After many hours, his young children discovered him after coming home from school. Two hospitals and a trip to Boston saved his life.
  • A 40-year ruptured brain aneurysm survivor had to be taken to Canada.  At the time of her rupture, no one in the northeast did brain surgery for aneurysms then. The original clipping failed and she was re-clipped. Which means multiple craniotomies. She is a walking miracle.
  • A much-loved 53-year old woman died of a massive ruptured brain aneurysm on Mother’s Day after presenting symptoms two previous visits to doctors, leaving a husband and a 15-year old son behind.
  • A beautiful 28-year young woman, who was an active runner and very physically fit, suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm while working out. She never recovered leaving her family devastated. She was to be married only a few short weeks after her death. (The Karo-5K was created in her memory & honor)
  • One woman survived a ruptured brain aneurysm that was filled with 11 coils, only to lose her sister to a ruptured brain aneurysm six years later. Then Dr’s discovered she also had a second brain aneurysm which was clipped via a craniotomy, but the original one that ruptured is still giving her cause for concern 9 years later.
  • A father of three survived a devastating ruptured brain aneurysm. The deficits he and his family have faced are life-altering and difficult but he IS alive and living life to the fullest.
  • A woman’s ruptured brain aneurysm at 4 a.m. left her with limbs numb, speech slurred, a rapid heart rate, sweating, and falling to her knees. The EMT’s who arrived at her home took her blood pressure and asked some questions. They determined it wasn’t a serious issue and left it to the patient if she wanted to go to the hospital or not. Thankfully she went on her own and the Dr. in the ER sensed what it could be and had her scanned and transported to Maine Med where her life was saved.
  • A young, talented, 13-year old boy fell victim to a ruptured brain aneurysm in his home. The outpouring of grief and support after his death was overwhelming. (Nolan’s H.E.R.O. Foundation)

I could go on and on if I knew I could accurately describe the situations of everyone that I have met. So many stories of hope, fear, disaster, strength, and courage.

So…apparently none of those stories are compelling? How many people have to die and suffer debilitating deficits before this cause it compelling enough to the local news media? To those whose lives have been touched by brain aneurysms there is plenty to hold one’s attention. Survivors HAVE to begin to believe they’ll be fine or they’ll crumble. And in many cases of those left behind, the desire to DO something is overwhelming after these silent killers attack without warning in some cases. Our fundraising events do more than raise money to help other families, they raise the hope and spirits of those left behind or those surviving.

We were lucky enough to have a lovely article written about Kim after her passing. It was written in the local sports section because she was a fantastic softball player, but beyond that, we have received little to no local media support focused solely on our cause. It’s not for our group’s benefit…it is to raise awareness and to allow others who have been touched by brain aneurysms to gather and support one another.

Our cause doesn’t have a specific color that we brand; doesn’t have a celebrity spokesperson that everyone adores; or a social media “challenge”. The more we’re able to talk about brain aneurysms, the more awareness will be raised and hopefully we can SAVE A LIFE.

I think that’s pretty “compelling” don’t you?

READ MORE About Us: MaineBA.org

It is estimated that up to 1 in 50 people in the U.S. will develop a brain aneurysm during their lifetime. Each year about 30,000 people will suffer a ruptured brain aneurysm. Almost half of the victims will die and of those surviving, only one third will recover without disabilities.