Aubrey Pollesch and Beth Hook
What if your knowledge could save someone’s life?
My mom and I are honored to be chosen as representatives of Team Ritter! And, we are honored to use our love and passion for running to raise $6,000 for a cause dear to our hearts. We would love nothing more than to raise further awareness about aortic health. Why? Because the knowledge we had saved my dad’s life twice. And, we would love to help save more lives.
In 2005, after being teased for being the only man at his high school reunion without a grey hair and a beer belly, my dad had a seizure like attack. After spending days in the hospital and undergoing multiple tests my dad was sent home- unsure of what really happened.
We thank God for multiple things that happened. First- that we had the knowledge of my grandmother’s death from an aneurysm in her fifties. Although I never got to meet her- her death helped saved my dad’s life. Also, the knowledge that all of my grandmother’s siblings have suffered from aneurysms. We are also very grateful that one person at the hospital happened to mention how my dad fit the mold of Marfan Syndrome- something my parents had never heard of.
With this knowledge in hand and some helpful guidance by family friends (thanks Eric and Rosie) my parents brought my dad’s test results to a specialist in Chicago. It was there we learned that my dad needed immediate surgery to repair an aneurysm in his ascending aorta. As a man in his forties with otherwise impeccable health- we thank God every day that we had the knowledge we had to advocate for my dad and push for more answers.
After a successful surgery, my dad continued to see a specialist who further studied our family history. His 6 month checkups became routine and genetic testing determined he has Familial TAAD. Throughout my dad’s journey our eyes have been constantly opened to how little people know about aortic health! In sharing my dad’s story we are always sharing new information with people. We have also learned that many people (even in the medical field) have no idea about the nature of aneurysms or how to treat people who are predisposed to have an aneurysm! If my dad was sent home from the hospital with an aneurysm that needed immediate surgery- how many other people face that risk?
Fast forward to 2011- what a big year for our family! College graduation and a December 2011 wedding for me! However, our little world turned upside down in October when my dad’s 6 month checkup revealed he had another aneurysm that needed immediate surgery! It was very easy to be mad- why again? Why now? But, we were again reminded how blessed we were to have the knowledge of my dad’s family history and genetic disorder. We were lucky.
So, December 17th came and my dad rocked his role as father of the bride. He was there to walk me down the aisle. He was there to give a toast before dinner. And, he was there to do an awesome 7 minute daddy/daughter/bridesmaid break out dance. And- most were amazed to know that in just two weeks he would again be undergoing open heart surgery.
Every day we thank God for how the events played out for our family. After two successful open heart surgeries, we are constantly thankful for the knowledge of our family medical history. We are thankful that we quickly learned we needed to be my dad’s biggest advocates and make sure to share our story with everyone we can. Knowledge is power, and it can save somebody’s life!
Please help us to spread the word Together, we can help raise awareness and save more lives like my dad's!
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