Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Keep Your Heart in the Game!

If you want to find someone with BAV (bicuspid aortic valve), head out to a sporting event or go where there is some form of physical activity. Exercise seems to draw them like a magnet, and they are exceptionally good at whatever their favorite sport or activity may be! 

Derek Owens, who currently plays
for the University of Hawaii, Hilo

Brent Warren  hitting a homer!

Whether on the basketball court or the baseball diamond, these athletes play with all their hearts! 

Along with team sports, over the years we have heard from many others.... runners, swimmers, bicyclists, rock climbers, wrestlers, body builders, triathletes... even race car drivers! 

The challenge we face with BAV is keeping these vibrant, gifted people safe, because some of those sports enthusiasts we can never meet in person. We heard from their families when they died suddenly, without an opportunity to have lifesaving surgery. 

BAVers of all ages
remain very active!
BAV triathlete 
At the Foundation, we talk about comprehensive, individualized care. We believe that if BAV individuals and families received that kind of care, it could greatly minimize the risk of untimely death or injury. Given their extraordinary gifts and physical strength, it is very possible that those with BAV could exceed the average lifespan of the general population. However, they are at risk of some very serious complications: endocarditis (infection), aortic valve failure (stenosis/narrowing, regurgitation/leaking, or both), thoracic aortic aneurysm, thoracic aortic dissection, and in some instances brain aneurysm. There is a great deal still not known, and untimely injury and death continue to occur in the United States and around the world, despite the aid of modern technology.

Chuck Doherty Running
Marathon in 2010
One of those who tragically lost his life, cut down in his prime due to BAV complications, is Chuck Doherty. On September 15th, a 5K Run is being held in his memory. There is still time to register for the run, come out and cheer on the runners, or simply donate in Chuck's memory at the 5K for Conquering Aortic Disease page.

We are very grateful for donations and support that will help keep the hearts of those with BAV beating and healthy! There are physicians in centers who need our financial support to conduct research. Visit the BAF website to find out how you can donate to the cause.

Join us in Creating a Climate of Hope!