Brain aneurysm survivors, their families and friends are invited to the inaugural meeting of a support group on March 25, 2011 at 1 pm at Pelican Athletic Club in Mandeville.
Dr. Robert Dawson, an interventional neuroradiologist with Culicchia Neurological Clinic will speak to the group about residual effects of the condition and the latest in treatment. An estimated 6 million people in the United States have an unruptured brain aneurysm, or 1 in 50 people. The annual rate of rupture is approximately 8 per 100,000 people or about 25,000.
“To my knowledge, this is the first support group for brain aneurysm survivors and their families in this area,” Winchell said. Last year, she started a fundraising tennis tournament, Aces Against Aneurysms, to raise funds for the program. She was contacted by several aneurysm survivors who agreed that there was a need for a support group in the metropolitan New Orleans and Gulf Coast areas.
Winchell, the mother of seven children, envisions another support group meeting on the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain later this year. She is coordinating with the Brain Aneurysm Foundation for advice on starting the program. “The Foundation is very excited with Becky Winchell’s initiative to bring two new support groups to an area in need,” said Christine Buckley, executive director of the Brain Aneurysm Foundation. ( www.bafound.org ) “I think Ms. Winchell will be surprised by the number of people she will touch and the appreciation people will have for the opportunity to attend a brain aneurysm support group.”
“This is a start,” she says. “Survivors and their families need to know that they are not alone.”In addition to a support group, Winchell intends to use funds to provide information to patients who have suffered aneurysms. “Once you’re discharged from the hospital, there are so many questions. It’s important that information be available,” she says.
Winchell suffered a potentially deadly brain hemorrhage as a result of an aneurysm two years ago. Her symptoms began as a severe headache. Like many aneurysms, it was misdiagnosed as a migraine.