My Story


I wanted to share my story and the reason that the success of the BAF is so close to my heart.

In the summer of 2003 ( July ) it was a friday night. I was out in Lake George,NY. I was about 3 hours from home. I had spoke to my mother who was living in Florida at the time with my Father. We had some small talk and spoke about how the yankees are playing the red sox and she continued on with her feelings about the Red Sox while being a Yankee fan. Funny thing is that my mom was always a fan of the underdog. She always rooted for the people who not alot of people liked. If she met you and you told her you were a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, now everytime she sees something about them or hears something about them on the TV she would say about how you are a fan of that team.

We ended the conversation...The next day I was getting ready because I was going to take the wave runners out onto the lake. The house phone rings, which was odd because I cant count on 1 finger how many times that has happened before.

It was my sister. She said - "Joe, Mommy died earlier today" she died from a brain aneurysm. In the matter of 10 seconds I had to process that I just lost my best friend, Mother, creator, biggest supporter, and the only person who understands me.

I beat myself up with guilt for a very long time after the passing of my Mommy. We had an amazing relationship, But there was one little hiccup. I never told her everyday that I loved her. I certainyl showed it, but we didnt have that type of relationship where I say I love you and vice versa. The last year of our relationship was spent on the phone because I was living in NJ and she was in FL. I had a plane ticket to go to Florida that Decemeber for the first X-MAS down in FL. We were getting the whole family together. My father just came off a rough patch and we would all be together again for the holidays....

She had a headache and went to go lay down, and that was the end of it. The brain aneurysm just took over from there. I am not sure if this was the cause but she was a pretty heavy smoker. She was smoking about 1 pack a day for at least 10-15 years. In Florida though she was cutting back, and was walking around and excercising more, which is something she only did when shopping.

In her casket, I had left a world series ticket...I went to the World Series on my 21st birthday. I left that ticket stub in her casket as a sentiment since she was the reason I was able to go to that game. More importantly I left a note in there as well.

The note said- I have no clue what a brain aneurysm is...But I promise that I will do everything in my power to help out in every way that I can.

Gone are the days when we used to sit at the kitchen table and talk for hours...My mother knew all of my deepest darkest secrets. She was the one person who was ALWAYS in my corner. One night while still living at home I had gone to a party. I had got really drunk and drove home. It was about a 15 minute drive. There is no way I should have been behind the wheel but I was stupid. She heard me throwing up that night. The next day she saw that my car was in the driveway and put 2 and 2 together. She knew what I did. She asked me to promise her that I dont drive and drink anymore. To this day I have not had more than 2 beers and got behind the wheel.

In life we are going to lose people all the time, that is just the way it goes. When it happens to someone else it doesnt hit you as hard. I remember visiting these very old people at a hospital I was volunteering at. This one man pulled me to the side and told me that he had 2 successfull businesses that made alot of money. He lost one to his ex wife and the other one was causing alot of friction between family. He said that as he lays there dying, he wasnt thinking about the cars he had. He wasnt thinking about the homes he had bought, or the jewelry in his case. He wasnt concerned with the amount of 0's in his checking account. The only thing he was thinking about was Family. His loved ones, and thats it.

I seem to remember the times I came home from school and yelled at my mom. The times I stayed home from school and than went out to play with friends eventhough my dad would find out and scream at my mom. She was everything and anything I could ask for. I remember the times I didnt say Sorry. But as I have matured and grown I realize that I am thankful for my 23 years with her. It no longer bothers me that my children wont meet their GrandMA. In my eyes she has not gone anywhere. She is still with me. She is watching over me and we still talk everyday.

I hope that we can find a cure for this terrible disease. I miss my Mommy more than I the air I breathe. I feel that since I cannot change what happened in my life, If we can raise enough awareness we can stop it happening from someone else's life.

I am sure Alex Rodriguez really needs that 300 million. Could you imagine if we could get all of sports figures to donate .5% of their yearly salary. That is less than 1%. So if they made 2 million in 1 year they would donate $10,000. Even if we could just get 1 franchise to do this it would be amazing. Does anyone know how to try to implement this?

Oh Sweetie...I am so sorry for your loss...the pain you are still feeling ... I just felt with tears down my face...your mom raised a wonderful son...and she is looking from above a Proud Mom...

I know that everything seems to start in Politics with your local lobbyists, etc., see on our front page can take action to ask Senate to make September "Brain Aneurysm Awareness"'s a are not only making mom proud, but all of us survivors...God Bless you and your family...! Colleen


thank you for posting this personal time n ur life. i have a 22 yr old daughter n 17 yr old son who are wat i live n breath for each day. your story really hits home w/ our own personal experience as i, now 43, was 41 when my anny ruptured n by Gods own miracle was saved. my daughter stayed with me the 1st two days i was in icu n the hospital, i have so much love n appreciation for this unselfish act of love. teenage n the yrs as a young adult are very trying on a parent/child relationship, but a mothers love never withers. it is unconditional n only grows stronger. please know that your mothers spirit will always be with u n the memories u have just make u an even more wonderful parent for ur own babys. ur mommy sounded like a beautiful, strong woman. i know your family love will be stronger than ever n be sure to treat each day w/them as if it was the last, always remember to say "i love you". thank you again for posting for this is a reminder that we each are here for a reason, your mommy was one of Gods angels to show love, support n the meaning of being a mother. how beautiful...i will keep yall n my prayers for strength n comfort..God bless..please make sure yall also get screened, ...take care

so touching, i got to the casket and couldn’t go on. I been very upset thinking what could of been, i can imagine how you feel but you came to the right place, hugs.


Your story brings tears to my eyes, because of the pain felt in your letter, even 7 years after your mother passed. I am so sorry for your loss.

I am not sure how you would implement your suggestion, but I applaud you and your tenacity at wanting to raise awareness of this blindsiding, silent killer. If in fact you could even get 1/2 a franchise of those sports figures to donate some of their millions, would be a miracle and amazing.

Maybe you could start with the marketing offices of the franchises and see if they are interested in making some sort of announcement or something to begin with -- like supporting September as Brain Aneurysm Awareness Month. I do know here in Philly, the Eagles have what they call the Fly for Lukemia which supports pediatric lukemia and cancer. They have corporate sponsors all over the Philadelphia area too. Maybe you can initiate something similar to that with baseball teams.

Even if you just get the letter out to Congress and help push our vice president, Joe Biden (who, by the way, is an aneurysm survivor!!) to help raise awareness, I know your mother would be so proud of you.

God Bless you in your journey, and behalf of all of us survivors, thank you!


Wow what a story , I know that is how my Kids and Family feel about me. When they found my aneursym I was just thinking and discussing with my oldest daughter that i was going for the easy way of taking care of this Coiling. However the aneursym was on my left and it was sitting in the comunicating artery also it was 2.5 cm which it was considered pretty big and I am so thankful to GOD that i am still here. I had two strokes and unfornatly I am not able to work. I makes me feel very upset but when i read your story I realize it could be much worse. Thanks for sharing and if i miss spelled I apologize I also forget things. God bless and keep doing what you are doing your mommy is looking over you...