I am thrilled to be running the 2016 NYC Marathon for Team Train the Brain, benefitting the University of Michigan Hospital System's research into alleviating symptoms of brain hemorrhage. This will be my second NYC Marathon, and sixth overall.
I was connected to the Berman family when my wife, Allie, did a law school internship with Jessica at the NHL. Brad's story immediately hit me because of the similarities I have with him. Young lawyer, avid runner, two kids (okay, not quite yet for me, but one day), just going about his life. And then it all changed. This is the first year that Train the Brain has partnered with my maize and blue, the University of Michigan, so even though I am taking a breather from my traditional fundraising for Team In Training/Leuekmia & Lymphoma Society, here is why it was a "no brainer" for me to get involved with Train the Brain:
In the summer of 2013, Brad Berman, age 37 and a laywer in New York, was training for the NYC marathon on November 3, 2013 (this would have been his fourth marathon). On the morning of Sunday, August 4th he was in the kitchen getting a drink of water prior to a training run when the worst headache of his life struck. He immediately called his wife, Jessica -- who was at the gym -- and said: "something isn't right, you need to come home." Within 30 minutes they found a friend to watch their two young children, Noah (age 5) and Andrew (3), got an ambulance, and were at the nearest emergency room. Brad was immediately intubated. Within a matter of hours, Brad was in emergency surgery to have half of his skull removed and placed in his abdomen to relieve the pressure in his brain and to prevent death or further catastrophic damage. He had a massive hemorrhagic stroke at the age of 37. On that day we learned that Brad had an AVM (arteriovenous malformation) which had ruptured that morning.
Prior to that day, Brad and his family never knew that Brad had an AVM. They subsequently learned that he has a congenital malformation of blood vessels (which he was likely born with), that was totally asymptomatic for his entire life. Having an AVM carries an approximate 2% risk per year of hemorrhaging, and August 4th was Brad's unlucky day. Brad remained in a coma for almost a month. While he was "sleeping," doctors performed a tracheotomy and a feeding tube was inserted into his belly. Brad woke up very slowly and began the painstaking process of re-learning how to breathe, eat, talk, walk, and many other actions that most people take for granted. Brad was in the hospital for four months and is just now far enough along in his recovery where he is home, back to work, and getting back to his life, though sadly his days of running may be over due to the long terms effects of the hemorrhage.
Team UMHS's Train the Brain work will benefit not only those who have AVMs and are the victims of a brain bleed, but all victims of hemorrhagic strokes, approximately 200,000 per year. There are few research centers in the world with the capabilities that Michigan has, and I can't wait to see how the progress unfolds for years to come. Please support my efforts, and thanks!