BENEFITING: JOHN RITTER FOUNDATION FOR AORTIC HEALTH
ORGANIZER: JOHN RITTER FOUNDATION FOR AORTIC HEALTH
EVENT DATE: Nov 03, 2013
Hello and Welcome to my Crowdrise page!!
I am truly excited, honored, and so very happy to be a part of Team Ritter!! Helping to raise funds for the John Ritter Foundation and awareness regarding aortic dissections is very important to me and my family.
It began when my son Josh, who had just turned 21, experienced an excrutiating pain in his chest while sitting with his friends playing video games. It was a week before he was to leave for Navy boot camp. A future of travel, learning new skills, and becoming physically fit was one he was anticipating with intense eagerness. The pain eased up and transitioned to a backache. We thought it was from all the excercising he had been doing. When it turned into a bellyache, we thought it was nerves. A trip to a doctor diagnosed him with gastritis. Almost a week went by as the discomfort became increasingly intolerable, something just wasn't right.
The signs were there, but we didn't see them(we didn't know what to look for). The timing was good, but we didn't know it-if this had happened at boot camp, I don't think Josh would be alive today. The knowledge was available(there are specific tests that diagnose dissections rapidly), but who knew we needed it?
Surgery and a few aortic stents(to provide support) later, and a career in the Navy no longer a possibility, we began to look at what caused Josh's dissection. Genetic testing revealed an ACTA2 mutation. This causes a weakening of the walls in blood vessels like the aorta. Further testing of my family revealed that my husband (Josh's dad) plus our daughter(Josh's sister) also carry the mutation.
Trying to find information about ACTA2 was very frustrating until I found the John Ritter Foundation. With their knowledge and experience our questions and concerns were answered. They have been there for us and countless other families and I want to be able to help them continue. I hope to accomplish this by raising funds and running in the New York City Marathon in November 2013.
“The funds raised by Team Ritter will allow us to continue our genetic research to identify genes or altered DNA that increases someone’s risk for an acute aortic dissection. By identifying who is at risk, we can prevent the premature deaths due to aortic dissections,” said Dianna Milewicz, M.D., Ph.D., director of UTHealth’s John Ritter Research Program. “It will also help us spread information to both physicians and the public about symptoms and genetic risk factors for aortic dissections, including the fact that this condition can run in families.” Milewicz is also professor and George H. W. Bush Chair in Cardiovascular Research in the Division of Medical Genetics at the UTHealth Medical School.