Gina is a ruptured brain aneurysm survivor and co-creator of the WOW Walk for Aneurysm.
I have always lived a fit and active lifestyle and until BA (brain aneurysm). I would meet with friends several times a week for a swim in the bay. On 30 March 2016 all that changed. It was a beautiful sunny morning and we were all happy and animated walking along the pier. I jumped into the water and swam a few strokes then felt a strange explosion in my head, I called out to one of my friends who helped me get out of the water and escorted me to the change room. I knew something was terribly wrong and said I would call an ambulance, but my friend who happens to be a nurse insisted on driving me to hospital.
I don’t remember much of the next 3 weeks. Scans confirmed I was suffering from a Subarachnoid Haemorrhage due to a ruptured aneurysm. Emergency surgery was performed to stop the bleeding and clip the aneurysm. A second small aneurysm was detected but surgeons felt it was too dangerous to operate on this at the time, so it will be monitored and operated on at a later date. I will be forever thankful to my fantastic family and friends for their support. My two sons were in Europe at the time and immediately flew back to be by my side.
A few months down the track and thanks to prompt medical attention I feel great with no neurological or physical deficits, although I am very anxious about my other aneurysm. Through social media I made contact with wonderful BA survivors Karen & Sophie (my brain friends!). After sharing our stories and reflecting on how lucky we are to be alive, we vowed to “do something” to help raise awareness and funds for research so more people survive. The WOW walk for aneurysm was born.
WOW stands for Williamstown Open Water. The Victorian Open Water swim championships will be held in Williamstown on the 17th December. We approached the organisers with the idea of organising a fundraising walk/run to coincide with this event. The idea was accepted with open arms. The course is a picturesque out and back loop along the Williamstown foreshore. Participants will be able to watch the elite swimmers slog it out for swimming glory.
During our recovery Karen, Sophie, & I have found walking great therapy. Our dogs have been thrilled with the extra exercise and attention so we decided for a small additional fee people can enter their favourite 4 legged friends in the BOW WOW category. A great opportunity for survivors and supporters to be active together. All profits and donations will go to NRF.
For more information on the WOW Walk for Aneurysm, please visit the Facebook page.