At the age of 42 my husband Jon suffered a Type-A Aortic Dissection as a result of a rare genetic condition called Vascular Ehlers Danlos. Vascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, or VEDS, affects the production of collagen, the building block of our arteries. It is life-threatening and there is no treatment. Over the course of six months in 2016 Jon suffered a ruptured iliac aneursym, another rapidly enlarging aneurysm requiring surgical intervention, a deep-vein thrombosis, and his aortic dissection, which required emergency open heart surgery. His survival is something of a medical miracle.
Jon was lucky to receive a diagnosis at the age of 42. His mother died when Jon was just 5 years old, of what was likely a cardiac artery dissection that led to a heart attack. We are fortunate that medicine and genetic testing have evolved to the point that Jon is living with his diagnosis. I am determined to do whatever I can to to increase awareness and research funding, for Jon, our family, and other unsuspecting carriers of this genetic abnormality. I am proud to be running the New York City Marathon as part of the John Ritter Foundation Team. The John Ritter Foundation works to promote knowledge of aortic aneurysm and dissection through research and education. They are currently conducting an important study of VEDS in mice, and work tirelessly to increase awareness and access to genetic testing for people at risk of aortic abnormalities. I ask that you please consider supporting my NYC Marathon Run on behalf of the John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health.