03
Sep
14

Chuck the Chicken Goes Viral

Don't be a ChickenWe are now on Day 3 of our Don’t be a Chicken Campaign in support of Brain Aneurysm/AVM Awareness Month and we want to applaud the nearly 8000 people who have jumped on board with us thus far.  We have 27 more days to go so keep up the great efforts!  Remember, this is all about spreading the importance of awareness and understanding the facts about brain aneurysms and AVMs.  So “chuck” being a chicken and hop on board with JNF as we continue to let the world know just how brave we are!!!!!

JNF

Supporting the Fighters

Admiring the Survivors

Honoring the Taken

And Never EVER Giving Up Hope!

01
Sep
14

Don’t be a Chicken!!!

In support of BrDon't be a Chickenain Aneurysm Awareness Month (September), The Joe Niekro Foundation (JNF) encourages you to “Don’t be a Chicken.”

Brave survivors of brain aneurysms/AVMs and hemorrhagic strokes will represent The Joe Niekro Foundation during a month of mini-challenges to bring awareness to the importance of early detection and “Getting Scanned.” Don’t be a Chicken is designed to increase awareness of these devastating conditions by asking survivors, caregivers, friends and families to share their stories in attempt to educate the public on the warning signs and risk factors of a brain aneurysm and what to do if you experience “the worst headache of your life.” Courageous survivors and family members from across the country have come together to educate others on the importance of early detection and will be sharing their stories on the RUChickenJNF You Tube Channel, as well as across the foundation’s social media networks.

Plan to see quite a bit of the campaign’s mascot, “Chuck the Chicken” as the JNF will encourage individuals to make Chuck their Facebook profile picture. Signs of Chuck the Chicken have been created for survivors and supporters to download from the foundation’s website and Facebook page, take their picture with and then upload to social media. Throughout the month, Chuck will introduce new elements of the campaign and new challenges for the followers to participate in.

The Joe Niekro Foundation was founded by Natalie Niekro, daughter of the late knuckleball pitcher Joe Niekro, who lost his life to a brain aneurysm in October 2006. The foundation is committed to supporting patients and aiding in the research, treatment and awareness of Brain Aneurysms, AVMs and Hemorrhagic Strokes. The goal of the JNF is to raise awareness about the risk factors, causes and treatments of these conditions, while helping support the advancement of neurological research.  They provide public education and advocacy, support for patients and families, and develop awareness programs and educational materials for hospitals, clinics and other institutions nationwide.

It is estimated that 6 million people in the US have a brain aneurysm (1 in 50 people). Every eight minutes an aneurysm ruptures; killing 50% of those victims within minutes. Of the remaining half, 50% will suffer a delayed death and those remaining will usually suffer severe brain deficits.

One in every 200-500 people has a brain AVM; a dangerous, complex tangle of abnormal arteries and veins. Often the AVM ruptures and bleeds, causing severe brain deficits and sometimes death. The peak age for AVM hemorrhage is the late teens (age 15-20), but an AVM can rupture at any age.

Hemorrhagic strokes make up about 15% of all strokes, resulting in nearly one quarter of all deaths caused by or related to strokes. Approximately 10-15% of people who have this type of stroke will die before reaching the hospital.

“It’s important that we bring awareness to these silent killers and educate the public on the warning signs and risk factors associated with them. Far too many innocent lives are taken each year as a result of one of these conditions and we are here to help educate others before its too late,” says JNF Founder, Natalie Niekro.

Don’t be a Chicken kicks off September 1st . Follow the results at #RUchicken and #JNF or visit www.joeniekrofoundation.org.

For more information on The Joe Niekro Foundation, contact Natalie Niekro – nniekro@joeniekrofoundation.org.

 

27
Aug
14

Minnesota Twins to Host Brain Aneurysm Awareness Day

In honor of Brain Aneurysm Awareness Month, The Minnesota Twins will pay tribute to one of baseball’s most renowned pitchers and former Minnesota Twins Knuckleballer, Joe Niekro by hosting Brain Aneurysm Awareness Day on September 4th. Niekro spent 22 years in the major leagues, notching 221 wins and still holds the record, with his brother Phil, of the most successful brother combination in major league history, with 539 wins. On October 27, 2006, Joe passed away from a sudden brain aneurysm. Today, his legacy lives on through the Joe Niekro Foundation, committed to supporting patients and aiding in the research, treatment and awareness of Brain Aneurysms, AVMs and Hemorrhagic Strokes. The foundation strives to raise awareness about the risk factors, causes and treatments of these conditions, while helping support the advancement of neurological research.  JNF provides public education and advocacy, support for patients and families, and develops awareness programs and educational materials for hospitals, clinics and other institutions nationwide. Attending the day will be, Founder of The Joe Niekro Foundation, Joe’s daughter, Natalie, representatives from Abbott Northwestern Hospital and Stryker Neurovascular, along with several brain aneurysm/AVM/stroke survivors and family members. The group will be recognized during a special on-field ceremony before the game and will enjoy the game immediately following. An informational booth with literature on these conditions and the foundation will be set up on the main concourse during the game for anyone interested in stopping by.

If you would like to help or find out more about the foundation, visit www.joeniekrofoundation.org.

Natalie Niekro – Founder – The Joe Niekro Foundation – 602-318-1013 nniekro@joeniekrofoundation.org

23
Aug
14

Dr. Demetrius Lopes Joins JNF Advisory Board

The Joe Niekro Foundation is pleased to welcome Dr. Demetrius Lopes to our Medical Advisory Board.

Demetrius LopesDemetrius Klee Lopes, MD is the Section Chief of Cerebrovascular Neurosurgery at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. He is highly skilled in endovascular surgery, microsurgery and radiosurgery of brain and spinal vascular problems. This unique set of skills allows Dr Lopes to personally provide all available vascular treatments to his patients. Dr Lopes’ practice focuses on caring for patients with complex aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations (AVM), dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVF) carotid and vertebral-basilar blockage and stroke.  He also serves as Surgical Director of the Rush Comprehensive Stroke Center, Director of the Rush Center for Neuroendovascular Surgery, Director of Endovascular Neurosurgery Fellowship Education and Surgical Director of the Rush University Interventional Services.

Dr. Lopes began his medical education at Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil (1987), followed by a General Surgery (PGY-1) internship at University of Illinois at Chicago and Cook County Hospital (1993) and Neurology (PGY-2) at the Indiana University (1994). He completed training in Neurosurgery and Fellowship in Neuroendovascular Surgery at State University of New York at Buffalo (1995-2001). In 2001, he was invited to head the cerebrovascular program at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Dr. Lopes is an active author, lecturer and researcher. He has written many articles and chapters on various aspects of cerebrovascular surgery. His current research interests are in minimally invasive repair of blood vessels (aneurysms), intravascular imaging, flow diversion, arteriovenous malformation and stroke therapies. Dr Lopes’ is the principal investigator to trials for flow diverters such as Pipeline, Surpass, Fred and Web. As well as, stents like Lvis jr and Liberty. Dr. Lopes is unsurpassed in the Chicago-area in terms of expertise, experience, multidisciplinary collaboration and access to the latest diagnostic and stroke-prevention technologies. Dr Lopes is founding member of the World Live Neurovascular Conference (WLNC).

Welcome to the JNF Family Dr. Lopes – we are excited to have you!

 

21
Aug
14

JNF Welcomes Two New Advisory Members

The Joe Niekro Foundation is excited to announce our newest Medical Advisory Board Members, Dr. Peter Rasmussen of Cleveland Clinic and Dr. Aman Patel of Massachusetts General Hospital.

Aman Patel, MDDr. Patel, MD is a neurosurgical attending at Massachusetts General Hospital with clinical interests in cerebrovascular and endovascular neurosurgery with a focus on the treatment of cerebral aneurysms, vascular malformations and stroke. Prior to Mass General, Dr. Patel was Full Professor of Neurosurgery and Radiology, Director Cerebrovascular/ Endovascular Neurosurgery, Co-Director Stroke Program and Vice-Chairman Department of Neurosurgery at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.  He started the program 13 years ago after completing post-graduate training in neurosurgery and interventional neuroradiology with a focus on the care of patients with cerebrovascular disease across the specialties of neurosurgery, radiology and neurology. This collaborative approach has led to the growth of the program to becoming one of the busiest centers in New York City.

An expert in the vasculature of the brain and spine, Dr. Patel offers both endovascular and open microsurgical options to patients. He specializes in the minimally invasive treatment of brain and spinal disorders using endovascular techniques that are creating new treatment options for a broad range of conditions, replacing long and difficult traditional surgeries with low-risk interventions. When indicated, he also performs open surgery for cerebrovascular disease and general neurosurgery.

Dr. Patel is involved in multiple multi-center studies, NIH and industry sponsored, that investigate treatments related to ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke, new devices and new techniques.  He is focused on cerebrovascular treatments with a goal of developing a world-class program at Mass General that advances the clinical, academic, research and education work that began at Mount Sinai, with a goal of adding additional basic and clinical research.

RasmussenPeter Rasmussen, MD is Director of the Cerebrovascular Center at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Medical Director of Distance Health. Dr. Rasmussen’s clinical interests are in hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke, primarily focusing on cerebral aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations and occlusive intracranial atherosclerotic disease. He maintains a busy practice offering patients either open microsurgery or endovascular, minimally invasive treatment options. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Medical School in Madison, Wisconsin, completed his residency in neurosurgery at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, completed fellowship training in interventional neuroradiology/endovascular neurosurgery at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, as well as a fellowship in microsurgical treatment of cerebrovascular disease also at the Cleveland Clinic. He joined the faculty at the Cleveland Clinic in 2000. He has authored numerous scientific papers and book chapters. Currently he is an ad hoc reviewer for the Journal of Neurosurgery, Neurosurgery, Journal of Neurointerventional Surgery and American Journal of Neuroradiology. During his career, Dr. Rasmussen has maintained an active interest in applied or translational research acting as the Co-Director of the Endovascular Neurosurgery Research Laboratory. He is an active member of many professional organizations including the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery, and the Joint Sections on Neurotrauma, Critical Care and Cerebrovascular Surgery.
Dr. Rasmussen is the President of the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery (SNIS), is a past Vice Chair of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons, Cerebrovascular Section, and has been appointed as a fellow to both the American Heart Association (FAHA) and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (FAANS).

We are thrilled to have these two amazing surgeons join our family!  Thank you for your commitment to The Joe Niekro Foundation!

16
Aug
14

JNF Welcomes Two New Patient Advocates

Please join us in welcoming our two newest Patient Advocates, Tammy Curmano and Linda Legner-Romano.  We are excited to have you on board and thank you for your continued commitment to The Joe Niekro Foundation and our mission.

TamTammymy is a 5-year brain aneurysm survivor and extremely passionate about patient support and advocacy.  Tammy states, “I know that we make a difference in the lives of so many that feel alone.  The most important thing is having a positive, inspirational place to come for answers.  The team is here for us all, to help us through our challenges and celebrate all of our milestones!  I wish I would have known this group when I needed it the most, but now I am a part of the most compassionate and supportive team, and am extremely grateful.”  Tammy – we are so thankful for you!

On June 25, 2013, Linda Legner-Romano underwent the Pipeline procedure to treat her four brain Lindaaneuryms and today is focused on providing support to other brain aneurysm/AVM survivors and families.  A very important goal for Linda is to work together with other survivors of brain aneuryms and avms and their family members to provide the support she understands first hand is so critical. Linda will be facilitating our new Chicago Support Group at Rush University Medical Center which begins this coming Thursday, August 21st.  “We as a group of survivors can unite to support one another. Together we can understand the uniqueness of our situation and wrap our arms around each other in comfort to know we are not alone,” states Linda.

Tammy and Linda – Welcome to the JNF Family!

 

27
Jul
14

JNF Names Medical Humanitarian of the Year

diaz imageThe Joe Niekro Foundation is excited to announce Orlando Diaz, MD as this year’s Medical Humanitarian of the Year.

This award honors a Houston based medical professional for their ongoing research advancements and treatment studies of cerebral aneurysms, AVMs and/or hemorrhagic strokes, as well as their philanthropic endeavors.  Dr. Diaz will be presented with this year’s award at the 2014 Knuckle Ball…A Pitch for Life gala on September 20th at Hotel ZaZa in Houston, TX.

“We are thrilled to honor Dr. Diaz with this year’s award. His professional and volunteer services go above and beyond and his endeavors deserve the utmost recognition,” states JNF Founder, Natalie Niekro.

Diaz

Dr. Diaz teaching while performing an interventional surgery

Dr. Diaz travels frequently to South America to perform pro-bono services and treat the poorest of a population who would not have otherwise received any treatment. Dr. Diaz states, “Each time we go in these missions, we see our rewards in the faces of our patients and their families.  Our trips also allow for the opportunity to teach other South American physicians the latest techniques that are utilized here in the United States.”

Dr. Orlando Diaz is board certified by the American Board of Radiology and holds a certificate of added qualifications in neuroradiology. Formerly an assistant professor in interventional radiology at Baylor College of Medicine and chief of interventional neuroradiology at Ben Taub General Hospital, he joined the medical staff at Houston Methodist Hospital in 2007 and provides advanced neuroradiology and interventional neuroradiology services at the Texas Medical Center, West Houston, Sugar Land and Willowbrook campuses. He is the program director of the Houston Methodist Hospital Interventional Neuroradiologist Fellowship within the Radiology Department. He is also a part of the staff at Houston Radiology Associates.

Dr. Diaz’ clinical expertise includes:

  • Endovascular treatment of aneurysms
  • Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs)
  • Spinal dural fistulas
  • Facial AVMs
  • Vein of Galen malformations
  • Cerebral and spinal arteriography with 3D rotational imaging
  • Intracranial stenosis
  • Carotid stenting
  • Devascularization of tumors in preparation for surgery
  • Stroke therapy

Current research projects include the use of Penumbra coils in the treatment of aneurysms and other vascular diseases, the safety and effectiveness in the treatment of wide neck aneurysms with the Penumbra liberty stent, carotid artery stenting outcomes in the standard risk population for carotid endarterectomy – to evaluate safety and effectiveness of a new stenting system, the use of matrix and GDC coils for the treatment of intracranial saccular aneurysms, and Hydrocoil for endovascular aneurysm occlusion.

Congratulations Dr. Diaz and thank you for your incredible work within the neurointerventional sciences.  We look forward to honoring you on September 20th at The Knuckle Ball.




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