Rowing in the 2012 Canadian Sculling Half Marathon in Honour of the CMA



Dear Friends, Family, and fellow CMA Members,

Did you know aortic dissection is the most common catastrophe of the aorta and is often misdiagnosed as a heart attack? Did you know there is a genetic predisposition to aortic aneurysms and dissections? If you have not heard about it, it is because aortic dissection is often misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all! When left untreated, about 33% of patients die either instantly or within the first 24 hours, 50% die within 48 hours and 75% of patients in 2 weeks with undiagnosed ascending aortic dissection (IRAD, International Registry of Aortic Dissection ). Many patients with dissected aorta’s seeking care at hospital emergencies have been sent home with aspirin and later die due to the lack of awareness. Some individuals who have suffered fatal, emergency aortic dissection include Jonathan Larson, John Ritter, and Richard Holbrook. Others have been diagnosed early and accurately, and saved by timely surgery like Measha Brueggergosman and Tom Ritter, brother of John Ritter who was genetically diagnosed immediately after the death of his brother.

On September 16 I will embark on the Ottawa River to compete in the Canadian Sculling Marathon. Hosted by the Ottawa New Edinburgh Club (ONEC), this 21 km half marathon is built on the principles of participation, endurance, fitness, distance and fun.

In honouring my row to the efforts to preserve aortic health by the Canadian Marfan Association (CMA), I humbly request your pledge to support the CMA, a national charitable organization dedicated to serving patients and families affected by Familial Aortic Aneurysms and Dissections, Marfan syndrome, Loeys-Dietz, and related connective tissue disorders. Your support will help advance the CMA’s mission to improve the quality of life, and save lives through influencing the formation of aortic clinics across the country, fund and support research, and provide programs of education, allowing for increased awareness, accurate diagnosis, treatment and multidisciplinary management of these disorders.

I have been a member of the CMA Board of Directors since 2002, and have been fundraising for this cause since 1990. I am a current member of the Toronto Hanlan Boat Club and have been an avid rower for the last 15 years. I enjoy rowing because it is an elegant but strenuous sport; it provides a complete, full body exercise; it is easier on joints than running; it can be enjoyed for most of ones lifetime; and it gives fresh air, phenomenal views, great places and people.

Please donate generously. Thank you for your support.

Warm wishes,

Jo Paska, CMA Director


Me (right) rowing the Yukon River approaching Dawson City 



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