About the Chuck Olmstead Fund

It is my hope and vision that the screenings and education provided by the Chuck Olmstead Memorial Fund will help detect an aneurysm before it ruptures, and increase awareness around symptoms of a brain aneurysm that already has ruptured.

Nearly two  years ago, in March 2009, my dear husband, Chuck Olmstead, died after an aneurysm ruptured in his brain. Chuck, like many people, put off going to the doctor, reserving medical visits only for times when he knew he was dealing with something potentially serious. Unfortunately, Chuck never knew that something as serious as an aneurysm lay deep within his brain. If he did, I am certain he would have gone to the doctor to have it treated. He loved life enough to fight for it.

Since Chuck’s passing, I have been overwhelmed with an outpouring of support and kindness from this community and from people who loved and respected Chuck. I am very grateful for that. At the same time, I have been approached time and time again by people saying that either they have an aneurysm or they know someone who does or who has died from a ruptured aneurysm. I also have countless conversations with people, like Chuck, who are hesitant to go to the doctor or hospital either because they fear it or because other things in life simply seem to take priority over it.

For these reasons, after lengthy discussions with Chuck’s and my two sons, Craig and Charles, I have established the Chuck Olmstead Memorial Fund that has partnered with the Norton Healthcare Foundation to provide preventative medicine through brain screenings and community awareness campaigns that raise awareness and educate people to the known causes and symptoms of brain illnesses such as aneurysms, stroke, brain tumors and others.

My family and I learned a great deal about brain aneurysms following Chuck’s death. According to the American Society of Interventional and Therapeutic Neuroradiology, up to 1 in 15 people will develop a brain aneurysm. Even more sobering is the fact that less than 50 percent of patients who suffer a ruptured aneurysm survive. One fact that is particularly concerning to me is that brain aneurysms are more prevalent in those who smoke. Since Kentucky has the highest percentage of smokers in the United States, it stands to reason that our community faces a higher risk of brain aneurysms than any other in the nation.

I’ve also learned that African Americans are twice as likely to develop brain aneurysms as Caucasians, and women are twice as likely as men. Hypertension and obesity also increase the risk of having a brain aneurysm.

It is my hope and vision that the screenings and education provided by the Chuck Olmstead Memorial Fund will help detect an aneurysm before it ruptures, and increase awareness around symptoms of a brain aneurysm that already has ruptured. These include experiencing “the worst headache of your life”; nausea and vomiting; stiff neck or neck pain; blurred or double vision; pain above or behind the eye; dilated pupils; sensitivity to light; and loss of sensation.

It also is my hope and vision that with the help of Norton Neuroscience Institute, we’ll be able to bring mobile services and education surrounding brain illnesses to areas of our community where many people would be unwilling to visit a hospital or doctor and where they may be uninsured or otherwise unable to afford such care.

Doing this is my way to help prevent anyone in the community from having to endure the helplessness and heartfelt pain I felt when Chuck died from this horrid disease.

Therefore, I issue a challenge, and a plea, to this community to join me in this effort and make a tax-deductible donation to the Chuck Olmstead Memorial Fund by clicking here. Together, we can make much-needed brain illness screenings and education available to the people who are most at risk and by doing so, improve the health status of our community as a whole. Chuck would be so proud!

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