Jones Beach brain aneurysm walk raises awareness, $70K

The Brain Aneurysm Awareness Walk at Jones Beach State Park brought out survivors, their families and friends to raise money for an important cause.

About 1,000 walkers helped raise $70,000 at Jones Beach State Park this past weekend during Long Island’s ninth annual Brain Aneurysm Awareness Walk, hosted by Northwell Health’s Brain Aneurysm Center and the Brain Aneurysm Foundation (BAF). Proceeds from the walk will be divided between the two organizations to support essential research. 

Brain aneurysm survivors, their families and friends attended the fun-filled event on September 23. David Chalif, MD and Avi Setton, MD, co-directors of Northwell’s Brain Aneurysm Center, were among many Northwell doctors, nurses and staff members in attendance to show their support of the many patients they have treated over the years.

Two brain aneurysm survivors at the walk, Terry Bongiorno, 53, of New Hyde Park, LI, and Kathleen Smith, 63, of Westbury – who each lost family members to aneurysms – shared their stories.

In emotional speeches to the crowd, Ms. Bongiorno and Ms. Smith each talked about how their unique family histories led them to get screened. Each made the decision to get treated once they were diagnosed.

“One of the goals of this event is to increase awareness about the warning signs of a brain aneurysm,” said Dr. Chalif. “The symptoms can include severe headache, nausea, blurred or double vision, stiff neck or neck pain, pain above or behind the eye, and loss of sensation. Approximately five percent of brain aneurysms are linked to a family history. Ms. Bongiorno and Ms. Smith are to be commended for their decisive action to get properly screened due to their family history and have their aneurysms treated before they ruptured. We are extremely grateful to them for sharing their stories and admire their extraordinary courage and strength.”

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About Northwell Health
Northwell Health is New York State’s largest health care provider and private employer, with 22 hospitals, over 550 outpatient facilities and nearly 15,000 affiliated physicians. We care for more than two million people annually in the New York metro area and beyond, thanks to philanthropic support from our communities. Our 62,000 employees – 15,000+ nurses and 3,900 employed doctors, including members of Northwell Health Physician Partners – are working to change health care for the better. We’re making breakthroughs in medicine at the Feinstein Institute. We're training the next generation of medical professionals at the visionary Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and the Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. For information on our more than 100 medical specialties, visit

Michelle Pipia-Stiles
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