JNF Elevates Brain Aneurysm Awareness This September

September is Brain Aneurysm Awareness Month and to help provide insight as well as spread awareness of this condition, The Joe Niekro Foundation™ is sharing daily facts about the brain and brain aneurysms, helpful tips for brain aneurysm survivors, as well as other important information through their social media channels which include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google Plus.

The foundation is also offering a 25% discount on all of their JNF Jewels awareness bracelets and necklaces through the end of the month as well as co-hosting their first annual A Cerebral Affair gala in New York City on September 29th. In addition to their efforts in September, The Joe Niekro Foundation™ will be hosting their annual Knuckleball Gala in Houston, TX on October 20th and their annual Phoenix Knuckleball Gala on November 12th.

Funds raised at the events will go towards brain aneurysm, AVM and hemorrhagic stroke research and awareness supporting The Joe Niekro Foundation’s Patient Advocacy Program as well as the local medical communities.


JNF Awards $60,000 at 2016 SNIS Annual Meeting

The Joe Niekro Foundation was pleased to award $60,000 in research seed grants at the 2016 SNIS Annual Meeting in Boston this July. Among a pool of thirteen amazing applications, the Grants Review Board selected three to each receive a $20,000 seed grant that advances the study of brain aneurysms or brain arteriovenous malformations. The grants enable investigators to conduct research projects that address a specific hypotheses and generate preliminary data in preparation for major grant applications to corporations, foundations and governmental agencies. Founder of the Joe Niekro Foundation, Natalie Niekro and Treasurer of the SNIS Foundation, Richard Klucznik, MD presented each recipient with their checks.
We applaud all those that applied and look forward to granting additional dollars at the 2017 Annual Meeting in Colorado Springs in July.


This year’s recipients were:

Christopher Kellner, MD (left) – Fellow, Mount Sinai Hospital – “The Intra-Arterial Delivery of Modified Human Endothelial Progenitor Cells to Treat Cerebral Vasospasm Through the LArginine/NO Pathway in the Human Placenta Flow Model”

Cameron McDougall, MD (right) – Fellow, University of Texas Southwestern – “Next Joe Niekro Research GrantGeneration Bran Arteriovenous Malformation Model”

Alim Mitha, MD – University of Calgary – “Intravenous Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy for Aneurysm Formation”

(Dr. Mitha was unable to attend the meeting and therefore not pictured.

Congratulations to Drs. Kellner, McDougall and Mitha from all of us at the Joe Niekro Foundation™!


In Her Eyes

I came across this poem by Michelle W. Emerson and had to share. I couldn’t have said it better and this tells my story about my hero…my Father!

The depth of a father’s love shows in his daughter’s eyes.
What’s known is what’s shown from sunset to sunrise.
A foundation built on more than just what is spoken.
It’s commitments kept and promises that go unbroken.
An emotion so immense that nothing in this world can erase.
The permanent impression of love is tattooed upon her face.
A relation so peculiar that only the two can understand,
Yet so immaculate it’s obvious that, by God, it was planned.

I believe it all began when she would sleep upon your chest.
Now you’re her number one, her favorite, you’re the best!
You move and she watches so closely it’s as if she’s in a trance.
The fact that she can repeat you, exactly, isn’t just by chance.
From wrestling, racing, jump roping to being made up like a doll.
Both playmate and best friend, you’ve done some of it all.
A secret place, a look, special time just for her and you.
When a choice is to be made, it’s all about what Daddy wants to do.
And you’re there to cater to her every need and every wish.
There’s an invisible pedestal for Daddy’s little princess.
She’s content just to be. She’s filled with absolute bliss
Just to sit up under you, giving an occasional hug and kiss.
Sweet dreams are non-existent without Daddy’s goodnight kiss.
Your gentle stroke, words just for her, your check on hers is what she’d miss.
It’s simply because of how you love her, I surmise.
The depth of your love always shows in her eyes.

With you, her laughter is harder and her smile is even brighter.
You have a friendship, a bond, a soul tie that couldn’t be any tighter.
It’s more than a special bond; it’s an exclusive connection.
No room for a third party or attempted interjection.
This love is reserved just for Dad and no other.
It’s not the same for siblings, not even for Mother.
It’s the kind of love that I could never despise.
For the depth of your love always shows in her eyes.

To her, you’d give anything, but it’s not about the gift.
It’s that marvelous smile brought on by the spirit you lift.
It’s not about what you can give her or about what you can do.
It’s about the unconditional love reciprocated between you two.
It’s the tears in her eyes when you two disagree.
Nothing’s quite right until ‘I love you and I’m sorry.’
It’s that spunk in her step, the rainbow in her eye-
You’ll know she’s a Daddy’s girl when she passes by.
She’s got the kind of love that never fades or dies.
The depth of your love always shows in her eyes.

Upon angel wings you soar; your sparkling golden halo glows
Whenever she’s with you, it’s Heaven in her eyes that shows.
Her eyes hold a song so beautiful you’d think it was Heaven’s melody.
It’s the music of love’s symphony composed by each precious memory.
The love known is the love you’ve shown from sunset to sunrise.
The depth of your love will forever show in your daughter’s eyes.

Source: http://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/in-her-eyes


May is Stroke Awareness Month

ANYONE can have a stroke, so EVERYONE should be prepared!

A stroke, sometimes called a brain attack, occurs when a blockage stops the flow of blood to the brain or when a blood vessel in or around the brain bursts. Strokes can and do occur in people of all ages. In fact, nearly a quarter of all strokes occur in people younger than age 65.

Each year, almost 800,000 strokes occur in the United States.

Every minute counts when you’re having a stroke!  For every minute after a stroke occurs before treatment, 1.9 million neurons are affected.  In most cases, this causes some form of permanent damage.

Recognizing the Signs of Stroke

F.A.S.T is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke.  When you spot the signs, you’ll know you need to call 911 right away.

FFace Drooping – Does one side of the face droop of is numb?  Ask the person to smile.  Is the person’s smile uneven?

AArm Weakness – Is one are weak or numb?  Ask the person to raise both arms.  Does one arm drift downward?

SSpeech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand?  Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence to see if it is repeated correctly?

TTime to call 911 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if they go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately.  Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.

Lowering Your Risk for Stroke

Demographic factors such as family history, age, sex, and race/ethnicity can all play a role in an individual’s stroke risk. Regardless of your background, however, there are several things you can do to lower your chances of having a stroke.

  • Control your Blood Pressure – More than half of the world’s stroke deaths are caused by elevated blood pressure levels.
  • Manage your Cholesterol 
  • Don’t smoke – cigarette smoking contributes to one in every five strokes in the US.
  • Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat a healthy diet that’s low in sodium.
  • Prevent or control diabetes.
  • Limit your alcohol – Fewer than two drinks per day for men, or one drink per day for women.

Should I Get a Second Opinion?

“What should I look for in a Neurosurgeon or Interventional Radiologist?” This is a common question many patients have as they are gaining more knowledge, and it is an answer people need to decide for themselves.  As you seek out medical advice for your care, always remember it is every patient’s right to feel comfortable with his or her decision.

For some patients that may mean only one opinion, but others benefit from a diversity of opinions or providers.  It is important for patients and caregivers to truly understand their options, and it is the responsibility of health care providers to be honest and forthcoming of medical options. Never hesitate to seek out a second or even third opinion; the more providers who look at your case, the more information you will have to determine the best decision.

Should you trust an online review when seeking out another physician? Always consider the source. Patients need to interpret online reviews in a balanced and thoughtful way.  Misunderstanding a doctor review can be a serious detriment.

The best decision is made from the patient who is well-informed.  Here are some questions that may be beneficial for you to ask when speaking to a physician about your case:

  • What is your experience with aneurysms/AVMs?
  • Where was your training and education?
  • How many aneurysm/AVM procedures do you perform in a year?
  • May I have a copy of your curriculum vitae (CV)?
  • What is your complication rate?  What is the national average?
  • What hospital(s) are you affiliated with?
  • How long will I ave to wait for an appointment after I call?
  • If I call with a question, what is the turnaround time for a response?
  • Who covers for you while you are away?

By obtaining a second opinion, you help ensure that you have been diagnosed appropriately and that you will receive the most appropriate and optimal treatment plan. This can provide you with significant reassurance, peace of mind and confidence that you are making the best choice for your health.

Remember to always check with your health insurer on their policy for second and third opinions.


Questions to Ask BEFORE Surgery

Thousands of Americans will undergo brain aneurysm/AVM/stroke surgery each year.  It’s important to communicate your feelings, questions, and concerns with your doctor before having surgery. We encourage you to ask your surgeon questions. Information can lessen anxiety by reducing fear of the “unknown.” In addition, a better understanding of your problem can help you make more informed, and, therefore, make better decisions.

The following are important questions to review with your doctor prior to surgery. Ask your doctor to explain the answers clearly and ask for further clarification if you are having trouble understanding an explanation and/or any medical terms. Some people find it helpful to write their questions down ahead of time.

It is important to remember that a well-informed patient tends to be more satisfied with the outcome or results of a procedure:

  1. What possible problems should I look for after brain surgery?
  2. What happens after I am discharged from the hospital after brain surgery?
  3. What type of operation do I need?
  4. What do you expect the surgery to achieve?
  5. Will the operation cure my brain aneurysm/AMV/Hemorrhagic Stroke?
  6. Will I need any other procedure after surgery?
  7. How likely is it that the aneurysm/AVM/Hemorrhagic Stroke will come back at some time in the future?
  8. What are the risks and benefits of this operation/procedure?
  9. What are the likely long-term effects of this operation?
  10. How can I best prepare myself for this operation?
  11. When I wake up, will I be in intensive care?
  12. How long do you expect me to be unconscious after surgery?
  13. What are the possible complications of this type of operation/procedure?
  14. What will happen if I don’t have surgery?
  15. Is there any other type of treatment I could have?
  16. How long will it take me to get over this operation?
  17. How can I help myself recover?
  18. Who will speak to my family after the surgery?
  19. What kind of timeframe am I looking after for total recovery?
  20. Is complete recovery possible?

Please note: This list it is not meant to be all-inclusive, rather a guideline to get you to think about the things that you might want to discuss with your doctor.  All cases are unique, so some of these questions may not apply to your case, and you may want to add some additional questions as well. You may want to talk with your doctor about what you need to do to designate a health care proxy – someone to make decisions for you when you are unable. Also, be sure your file has emergency names and contact phone numbers.



16 in Sixteen

16 in Sixteen Campaign






We have all felt alone.

That moment where we would give anything to know someone else who has walked the same path.

That person who can give us the strength to make it to the other side.

When we face our greatest challenge we should not be alone!

  • There are currently 6 million people in the US who have an unruptured brain aneurysm
  • As many as 1 in 15 people will develop a brain aneurysm or AVM
  • Every 18 minutes an aneurysm ruptures
  • 50% of ruptured aneurysm patients will die instantly
  • The average age of an AVM rupture is 17 years old
  • There are approximately 120,000 hemorrhagic stroke victims annually

The Joe Niekro Foundation™ is committed to supporting patients and families, research, treatment and awareness of Brain Aneurysms, AVMs and Hemorrhagic Strokes.  We provide education on the risk factors, causes and treatments of these conditions, while funding the advancement of neurological research.

The Joe Niekro Foundation™ Support Groups create a community to help these survivors know that recovery is possible and they are not alone.

  • These groups provide life-saving support to patients, survivors, caregivers and families, both online and in person.
  • Social support is essential to the recovery process and social isolation can greatly reduce patient recovery and outcomes after suffering a Brain Aneurysm/AVM/Hemorrhagic Stroke.
  • Many hospitals are not equipped to offer patients and families the ongoing support post discharge needed for their full recovery.
  • Survivors have the opportunity to meet and learn from other survivors who have experienced similar issues and understand.
  • Support group members learn what to expect during their healing process and develop new coping strategies through shared personal experiences.
  • Members have access to healthcare professionals as well as other survivors.
  • Our education booklet Roadmap to Recovery provides information on topics such as depression, social reintegration, coping with disabilities, nutritional brainpower, exercising your brain and much more.
  • Members feel empowered when they receive access to educational information and emotional support that directly helps lead them to improved health and quality of life.

“A support group can be life saving for a patient and family during their critical recovery period.  I have been amazed by the commitment, the diligence and camaraderie of their members.  I have been deeply impressed by the benefit my patients and their families have received by interacting with others who have survived the same ordeal.  I salute the organizers of The Joe Niekro Foundation for all the good that they do, and am deeply grateful for the benefit my patients have received because of their efforts.”

Dr. Robert F. Spetzler
Director, Barrow Neurological Institute
Chairman and President, Barrow Neurosurgical Associates
Professor of Surgery, Section of Neurosurgery, University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson, AZ

“It was in August 2012 and being 19, I was rushed to the hospital. They had discovered that I had a ruptured AVM and a possible stroke. While there isn’t a lot that I remember about the event, I have had to live with many difficulties including forgetfulness, struggling with talking, and my ability to participate in many activities.  It is through the Joe Niekro Foundation and their guidance that I’ve been able to meet and talk to other survivors and understand I am not alone.”

Tyler Landreth, Survivor 22 Years Old, Green, Oregon

Here’s how you can help JNF provide the critical funding necessary to offer a greater support network for survivors and caregivers worldwide:

Share the message with 16 friends and/or share the link below with friends on other social media sites, across the web and by email.

The more people we can educate, the more lives we can save.  It is our priority to create awareness and deliver guidance, knowledge and support to those facing the challenging road of diagnosis, treatment and recovery. Together, we can create this vital community where people no longer have to feel alone – they can thrive, not just survive.

Please join us and pledge or share YOUR 16 in 16!


October 2016
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