Jones Beach brain aneurysm walk raises awareness, $70K

Jones Beach brain aneurysm walk raises awareness, $70K
Approximately 1,000 participants, including brain aneurysm survivors and their families, helped to raise $70,000 to fund essential research. The proceeds from the walk will benefit Northwell Health's Brain Aneurysm Center and the Brain Aneurysm Foundation. (Photo courtesy of Northwell Health)

About 1,000 walkers helped raise $70,000 at Jones Beach State Park this past weekend during Long Island’s ninth annual Brain Aneurysm Awareness Walk, hosted by Northwell Health’s Brain Aneurysm Center and the Brain Aneurysm Foundation.

Proceeds from the walk will be divided between the two organizations to support essential research.

Brain aneurysm survivors, their families and friends attended the fun-filled event on Sept. 23. Dr. David Chalif and Dr. Avi Setton, co-directors of Northwell’s Brain Aneurysm Center, were among many Northwell doctors, nurses and staff members in attendance to show their support of the many patients they have treated over the years.

Two brain aneurysm survivors at the walk, Terry Bongiorno, 53, of New Hyde Park, and Kathleen Smith, 63, of Westbury – who each lost family members to aneurysms – shared their stories.

In emotional speeches to the crowd, Bongiorno and Smith each talked about how their unique family histories led them to get screened. Each made the decision to get treated once they were diagnosed.

“One of the goals of this event is to increase awareness about the warning signs of a brain aneurysm,” Chalif said. “The symptoms can include severe headache, nausea, blurred or double vision, stiff neck or neck pain, pain above or behind the eye, and loss of sensation. Approximately five percent of brain aneurysms are linked to a family history. Ms. Bongiorno and Ms. Smith are to be commended for their decisive action to get properly screened due to their family history and have their aneurysms treated before they ruptured.

“We are extremely grateful to them for sharing their stories and admire their extraordinary courage and strength.”

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