Know the Facts!

 strokeDid you know that strokes affect 1 in 6 males and 1 in 5 females? Stroke is third leading cause of death worldwide and a common cause of disability in adults.

Surprisingly, 80% of strokes are preventable.  Here are a few tips to keep in mind that could just help save you from a stroke!

1) Know your blood pressure: High blood pressure (hypertension) is one of the most common causes of stroke. High blood pressure is a measurement of 140/90 or higher.

2) Check for Heart diseases: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is an irregular heartbeat that changes how your heart works and can cause blood to pool in parts of your heart. This blood can form clots and cause a stroke.smoking

3) If you smoke, STOP! Smoking doubles the risk for stroke.

4) If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation: Heavy drinking can actually increase your risk for stroke.

diabetes-blood-sugar-chart5) Know your cholesterol number: Lowering your cholesterol (a fat-like substance in your blood) may reduce your risk for stroke. high cholesterol can be controlled with diet and exercise; some people may need medicine.

6) If you are diabetic, get your blood sugar level under control.

7) Include exercise in your daily routine: a brisk walk, bicycle ride, swim or yard work – can improve your health and may reduce your stroke risk. Adults should perform moderate physical activities for at least 30 minutes for five or more days a week.

8) Enjoy a lower sodium (salt), lower fat diet: By cutting down on salt and fat in your diet, you may lower your blood pressure and, more importantly, lower your risk for stroke. Try to eat a balanced diet each day, with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and a mod
erate amount of protein (meat, fish, eggs, milk, nuts, tofu, and some beans).

9) Ask your doctor if you have circulation (blood flow) problems, which increase your stroke risk. If so, work with your doctor to control them.

Knowing your numbers could make all the difference!



B.E. F.A.S.T. – Save a life from Stroke

In culmination of World Stroke Day, we wanted to be sure you had the tools necessary to recognize a stroke and the signs to look for.  Following these easy steps could help save a life!!!!

The B.E. F.A.S.T. guideline helps you remember that timely treatment is the key to saving someone’s life or quality of life.

B – Balance: Is the person experiencing a sudden loss of balance or coordination?

E – Eyes: Is the person having a sudden change in vision or trouble seeing

F – Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

A – Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S – Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?

T – Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Strokes cause about one out of every 19 deaths in the U.S. each year, making it the third leading cause of death for women and the fourth leading cause of death for men. Strokes are also a leading cause of serious long-term disability in America.


A stroke occurs when a vessel in the brain is blocked by a blood clot or ruptures, according to the American Stroke Association. About 15 percent of all strokes in the U.S. are hemorrhagic, leaving 85% to be ischemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, cigarette smoking, atrial fibrillation are risk factors for stroke.

The good news, according to the CDC, is that you  can help cut your risk for stroke by:

  • Eating a healthy diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and low in sodium and trans fat.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Staying physically active each day.
  • Quitting smoking.
  • Consuming alcohol in moderation.
  • Preventing or treating high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes.

If you think someone has suffered a stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately. Paramedics can begin life-saving treatment on the way to the emergency room.


Get Ready to Pitch Another Great Evening

Chairman, Natalie Niekro, of the 6th Annual Knuckle BallA Pitch for Life, on October 17th, at JW Marriott Desert Ridge, is pleased to announce some of this year’s participating athletes who will be honoring her father and former MLB pitcher, Joe Niekro while raising funds for brain aneurysm, AVM and hemorrhagic stroke research.  Attending and mingling with the guests, to name a few, will be:

  • Vince Coleman – MLB – 1985-1997 – 2x All-Star, NL Rookie of the Year and 6x Stolen Base Leader
  • Tony Phillips – MLB – 1982-1999 – World Series Champion
  • Tim Kempton – NBA – 1986-2000
  • Steven Hunter – NBA – 2001-2011
  • Nick Lowery – NFL -1978-1996
  • Steve Ontiveros – MLB – 1985-2000
  • Brandon Webb – MLB – 2003-2009 – 3x All-Star, NL Cy Young Award, 2x NL Wins Leader
  • Cassie Gannis –Nascar

Since Joe Niekro’s tragic and sudden death in 2006, as a result of a brain aneurysm, his daughter, Natalie established The Joe Niekro Foundation, committed to aiding in the research and treatment of brain aneurysms, AVM’s 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.

The black-tie evening, appropriately named for the pitch that made Niekro famous, will be emceed by legendary radio personality, Dave Pratt, with Special Host, Actress and Brain Aneurysm Survivor, Tamala Jones will feature a festive reception, silent auction, formal dinner, event program, LIVE auction, musical entertainment and the opportunity to mingle with some of sports greatest legends (plus a few surprises in between).  The gala, being hosted in Phoenix for the first time, is the foundation’s largest event of the year and pays tribute to those that have lost their lives to these fatal conditions, while honoring the survivors who are fighting everyday to recover.

Petrice “TC” Schuttler will be honored as the Joe Niekro Humanitarian of the Year for her outstanding commitment and contributions to the community and Dr. Joseph Zabramski will be recognized as the Joe Niekro Medical Humanitarian of the Year.   Proceeds from the event will benefit the Barrow Neurological Institute.

As many as one in fifteen Americans will develop a cerebral aneurysm or AVM; 10-15% of these individuals will die before reaching the hospital and over 50% will die within the first thirty days after rupture. Of those who survive, over half suffer permanent neurological deficit. For more info, visit www.joeniekrofoundation.com/events/knuckleball.


It’s Time to Step Up to the Plate!

Joe Niekro FoundationIn support of Brain Aneurysm Awareness Month, The Joe Niekro Foundation™ (JNF) encourages you to “Step Up to the Plate…and Donate this September.

Step Up to the Plate…and Donate is designed to increase awareness of brain aneurysms and AVMs (Arteriovenous Malformation) through the eyes of survivors, caregivers, friends and families who will be sharing their own stories in attempt to educate the public on the warning signs and risk factors of brain aneurysms and AVMs.

To take the Step Up to the Plate challenge, participants will be directed to the JNF Step Up to the Plate donation page.  Anyone interested in creating their own pledge page, or forming a team where they can share their story with others, provide education to the public and create hope for patients and families across the globe, may also do so.  Funds will benefit brain aneurysm and AVM awareness programs through The Joe Niekro Foundation.

There’s nothing quite as appealing as the sound of the words, “You’ve just won a prize!”  So, to show  support for all efforts, the JNF will be awarding Visa gift cards to the Top 3 earners. First place will receive $750, $350 will go to the 2nd place earner and $100 for 3rd place. *Note, no funds from this campaign will be used for the awarded prizes.

The coin has been tossed, the players are ready and the game has begun so, Step Up to the Plate this month for brain aneurysm and AVM awareness.

It is estimated that 6 million people in the US have a brain aneurysm (1 in 50 people).  Every eighteen 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.

“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 it’s too late.  Survivors need a platform to share hope with others and we are so fortunate that we are the outlet for them to do so,” says JNF Founder Natalie Niekro.


Questions to Ask AFTER Surgery

Now that you are through your surgery and ready for your first post-op appointment, here are a few questions you will want to be sure and ask:

  • What possible side effects should I look for after treatment?
  • What are the signs of infection?
  • What do I do about constipation?
  • What kind of timeframe am I looking at for recovery?
  • Is it possible to completely recover from treatment of a Brain aneurysm/AVM/Stroke?
  • What activities am I allowed to do?
  • What medications am I allowed to take?
  • Am I permitted to drive?
  • Can I drink alcohol?
  • Can I have sex and when?
  • Can I dye my hair?
  • What other types of doctors do you recommend I see? Do I need to schedule an appointment with a Neurologist, Neurophysiologist, Neuropsychiatrist?
  • How can I help myself recover?
  • Who do I call if I have questions about how I am feeling?
  • Will there be any follow-up after treatment?
  • I am nervous about the hardware that will be used to treat my brain aneurysm; if I bump my head will the coils/clips come undone?
  • What is DVT (deep vein thrombosis)? What are the symptoms?
  • Am I allowed to leave the country?
  • Can I fly in an airplane?
  • Are there support groups available?

Remember that no question is a bad question – so ask whatever you need to put your mind at ease, comfort your heart and walk away feeling some sense of relief.


The Knuckle Ball…A Pitch for Life is Heading to Phoenix

Joe Niekro Foundation Knuckle Ball

On October 17th, 2015, athletes from all over the country will come together, in association with The Joe Niekro Foundation and The Society of Neuro-Interventional Surgery Foundation, to support brain aneurysmAVM and hemorrhagic stroke research and awareness, for the 6thAnnual Knuckle Ball…A Pitch for Life at the JW Marriott Resort in Phoenix, AZ.

The black-tie evening, hosted by actress and brain aneurysm survivor, Tamala Jones, will feature a festive reception, silent auction, formal dinner, event program and LIVE auction (plus a few surprises in between).  The gala is the foundation’s largest event of the year and pays tribute to those that have lost their lives to these fatal conditions, while honoring the survivors who are fighting everyday to recover.

We are proud to announce that Petrice “TC” Schuttler will be honored as the Joe Niekro Humanitarian of the Year for her outstanding commitment and contributions to the Phoenix community.  Petrice has devoted her life to improving the lives of others and we are incredibly excited to present her with this year’s award.  The Joe Niekro Foundation Medical Humanitarian of the Year recipient, Joseph Zabramski, MD will be recognized for his research and continued advancements and treatment studies of brain aneurysms, AVMs and hemorrhagic strokes.

Since her father’s tragic and sudden death as a result of a brain aneurysm, Natalie Niekro established The Joe Niekro Foundation, committed to supporting patients and families, research, and treatment 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.

We would be honored to have you join our efforts and look forward to welcoming you at the 6th Annual Knuckle Ball…A Pitch for Life.

For tickets and package information, visit www.joeniekrofoundation.com/events/knuckleball.


Legends of the Game Coming Together to Support JNF

Two decades of baseball champions will come together on June 11th to host World Series Legends, benefitting The Joe Niekro Foundation (JNF). Members of the 1968 and 1984 World Series Detroit Tigers will be at Motor City Casino, in Detroit, Michigan to support brain aneurysmAVM and hemorrhagic stroke research and awareness.

The evening, emceed by sports broadcaster Eli Zaret, will include a cocktail reception, strolling dinner and culminate with a panel discussion including some of the greatest legends of the game: Al Kaline, Willie Horton, Mickey Lolich, Jack Morris, Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker. Other Tigers guests will include Rick Leach, Scott Lusader, Dan Petry, Dave Rozema, Pat Sheridan, Jon Warden and Pio DiSalvo.

Tiger fans everywhere are invited to attend. Tickets can be purchased online here.

One Champion who will greatly be missed this year is former Tiger and JNF Chairman of the Board, Dave Bergman. Bergman lost his life this past February and to recognize him and his philanthropic efforts, a tribute will be made in his honor during the dinner. “Both Dave and Joe were great friends of mine and I am very glad to be a part of this event and honor their memory”, says Hall of Fame great Al Kaline.

After former Tiger Joe Niekro’s tragic and sudden death in 2006 as a result of a brain aneurysm, his daughter Natalie established The Joe Niekro Foundation, committed to supporting patients and families, research, treatment and awareness of brain aneurysms, AVM’s and hemorrhagic strokes. The foundation strives to raise awareness about the risk factorscauses and treatments of these conditions, while helping support the advancement of neurological research.

Joe Niekro was one of the approximately 30,000 Americans to experience a brain aneurysm that bursts, usually resulting in sudden death. It is estimated that 6 million people in the US have a brain aneurysm, as many as one in 50 people, and every 18 minutes a brain aneurysm ruptures.

World Series Legends promises to be a memorable event, with some of the greatest names in baseball together in one place. The event begins at 5:30pm with a VIP Tiger Legends cocktail reception for premium ticket holders.

Tickets can be purchased at JoeNiekroFoundation.org or call 602-318-1013.


November 2015
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