At the same time (and halfway across the country) a woman named Judy Alico would suffer a SCAD at the age of 51 and pass away two days later. I can only imagine the shock and grief her family - husband, child, sisters - must have felt. Like many, they'd never heard of SCAD. There were living their happy, normal lives. And then Judy died. Her husband, Bob, had many questions for the cardiologist involved on Judy's case. There were no answers. Thankfully, this wasn't good enough for Bob. Over the next six months, Bob Alico took the steps to create SCAD Research, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to fund promising research about Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection. In his grief and in his wife's honor, Bob decided to take action. Little did I know how Bob's strength and courage would come to impact my life.
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the second annual SCAD Research 5k and Reunion. "Reunion" is a funny word to describe spending time with people you've never met, but it couldn't be more fitting for the emotional component of experience. Last year, 21 survivors made the trip to Naperville, IL - birthplace of Judy Alico - to celebrate survival and support the search for answers. There were ALOT of tears..... and laughter and hugs.
A team from the Mayo Clinic has joined us for lunch to share the latest scoop on SCAD. The presenting doctor said something that keeps swirling around in my head:
"SCAD isn't rare. It's under-recognized. And we're starting to compile the evidence to suggest that SCAD is a common cause of heart attacks in women under 50."
That wasn't "true" two years ago when I scoured the internet for information and all I could find was course offerings Savannah College of Art & Design (inconveniently also 'SCAD'). Imagine, with Bob's efforts around SCAD Research, what the coming years will bring.
This year, 37 survivors came together.
Me getting jazzed for the walk (no rain!)
My SCADsister Karen.... who affectionately refers to me as her "Lorax"
SCADsisters Ellen & Meghan
Bob Alico had his wife taken away from him. And somehow, he's managed to create a legacy for her that has given a bunch of total strangers from all over the world something that he didn't get to have.
"Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success." - Henry Ford
"From quiet homes and first beginning, out to the undiscovered ends, there's nothing worth the wear of winning, but laughter and the love of friends." - Hilaire Belloc