BENEFITING: JOHN RITTER FOUNDATION FOR AORTIC HEALTH
ORGANIZER: JOHN RITTER FOUNDATION FOR AORTIC HEALTH
I am running in the NYC Marathon for the John Ritter Foundation. I want to help raise funds for the Foundation to help other families’ through research and awareness about Aortic Health. In 2005, my wife Jill was pregnant with our youngest child. Jill was having a hard time controlling her blood pressure. The initial thought was toxemia. She had been in a couple times to see the doctor, but nothing worked. Jill was admitted into the hospital and put on bed rest. While on bed rest she was lying in bed and went to sit up and felt a pop. She was in excruciating pain. The doctors were perplexed as they could not figure out exactly what had happened. Finally, the doctors decided to order an MRI for her. Due to Jill’s pregnancy the radiologists suggested to change the test to a CT scan. This ended up saving her life. As we walked to the test I had felt so helpless as there was nothing anyone could do about the pain she was feeling. They took Jill in and were out in minutes. They were practically running with her and said they she was going into surgery ASAP. The doctor met with us and explained she had an aortic aneurism. The doctor explained that they would deliver the baby (28 weeks gestation), perform a hysterectomy, and then fix the tear in her Aorta. We had about 30 minutes to say goodbye as a priest performed Jill’s last rights. Our son Nevan was born around 1am, he was 2 pounds 7 ounces. He was so tiny and was hooked up to every machine possible. It was a long night. The surgeon finally came in to talk to us around 9AM. Jill had survived the surgery, but still had long road to travel. Jill was in the hospital 2 more weeks and Nevan spent about two months in the NICU. I was one of the luckiest ones. My loved ones made it through this ordeal, but many do not. We were contacted by the John Ritter Foundation through our doctors. They were working on genetic testing. Jill submitted a DNA sample for the research program. They found a gene mutation consistent in people that have had Aortic dissections. We then had kids tested. Our oldest (Seamus) was 12. Fionn was 9, and Nevan was 6. We found out that Fionn tested positive for ACTA2. This was devastating news at the time. After the initial shock, we searched for Doctor’s that could help care for Fionn and help her live a long healthy life. Today, Jill is left with dissections that run from her carotid arteries down to her renal arteries. She is monitored with CT Scans every 6 months and controlled with several medications. Fionn is also monitored yearly and is taking medication to control her blood pressure. The John Ritter foundation is helping spread the awareness of this disease and funding research to help save lives. Please help me reach my goal to help save lives and ensure my daughter has the best care possible.
JOHN RITTER FOUNDATION FOR AORTIC HEALTH wrote -
The John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health (JRF) is proud to be an official charity of the TCS NYC Marathon to take place on Sunday, November 5, 2017. This is an amazing opportunity to increase awareness of thoracic aortic disease, as well as raise funds to support education and research. We are so honored to have been chosen.
Funds from the marathon will benefit the John Ritter Research Program in Aortic and Vascular Diseases (JRRP) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) to support research to identify genetic risks for aortic dissections.
“The funds raised by Team Ritter will allow us to continue our genetic research to identify genes or altered DNA that increases an individual’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.
Individuals interested in joining Team Ritter to run the marathon, help us increase awareness of aortic disease, and fundraise are encouraged to submit an application here.
Questions? Please send an email to info@JohnRitterFoundation.org.