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Monday, January 24, 2011

Aneurysm Outreach

Aneurysm Outreach is a result of three major events that occurred in its founder's life.

The first event was the death of her 58-year old father in September 1977. Sheila Arrington's father, Toney, left for a family reunion in Arkansas and returned to Louisiana in a body bag on a chartered flight, the victim of an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

The second event was reading a Wall Street Journal article in May 1994 that mentioned Dr. Charles D. Boyd, a molecular biologist then at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, who suspected that aneurysms were an inherited disorder. Sheila called Dr. Boyd, who assigned her the task of gathering a family medical history to see if the Arringtons might fit into his research plans. What she found was fascinating and frightening. In addition to her father, four of his siblings (two brothers/two sisters) plus her grandfather and several cousins had been affected by aneurysms.

The third event, a divorce, created the catalyst for Sheila to move forward in a new direction in her life and pursue this important mission.

Sheila went through an approximate 2-year period of preparation. She took a series of Education for Living seminars and joined Toastmasters International to improve her communication skills. She attended Louisiana State University classes in Interpersonal Communication and Public Speaking to gain a better understanding of people, as well as to acquire organization skills and experience for future presentations.

During this time, God was instrumental in placing the necessary people in Sheila's pathway to assist in making Aneurysm Outreach Inc. a reality. With his continued leadership and support, she became a full-time patient advocate for Aneurysm Outreach Inc. in June 2001.

AOI's primary goals are threefold:

1. To raise public awareness about the threat of aneurysms, especially the fact that certain families have a predisposition toward their occurrence.
2. To stimulate and fund genetic research through advocacy and tax-deductible donations.
3. To coordinate a support network for those affected or at risk of aneurysms and their families.