Walk for Brain Aneurysm Awareness on Sunday morning at College of DuPage

  • Janet Sutherland-Madden and husband Kevin Madden strolled down the Illinois Prairie Path near the Glen Ellyn train station last year to raise money and awareness for the fight against brain aneurysms.

    Janet Sutherland-Madden and husband Kevin Madden strolled down the Illinois Prairie Path near the Glen Ellyn train station last year to raise money and awareness for the fight against brain aneurysms. Steve Zalusky | Staff Photographer

 
Updated 9/24/2021 8:44 PM

Seventeen years ago, Janet Sutherland-Madden was given a 3% chance to live after suffering a ruptured brain aneurysm that resulted in her being blind and paralyzed.

After she recovered, she helped craft a bill in Illinois permanently designating September as Brain Aneurysm Awareness Month.

 

She also created a run/walk to raise funds for research.

On Sunday at 10 a.m., the Chicago 5K Run/1.7 Mile Walk for Brain Aneurysm Awareness will be held at the College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd, Glen Ellyn.

Sutherland-Madden is raising money and awareness in support of the Brain Aneurysm Foundation.

"It is a great path," she said of the location. "Parking is easy and the restrooms are accessible."

Last year, the walk was canceled due to the pandemic, but Sutherland-Madden and her husband, Kevin Madden, held a smaller walk that still raised nearly $6,500.

"The last time we had a walk we had to cancel it because of COVID. That's when my husband and I decided to walk 10 miles to raise money," she said.

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Sutherland-Madden said she is hoping to exceed that amount. The funds will go toward research for the Brain Aneurysm Foundation.

"It's an opportunity to meet other brain aneurysm survivors and remember and honor loved ones," she said.

In the past, the walks have attracted crowds coming from as far away as Indiana and Wisconsin, she said.

She said it is important to raise money for research, as the federal government only spends slightly more than $2 per year on brain aneurysm research for each person afflicted.

An estimated 6.5 million people in the United States have an unruptured brain aneurysm, or 1 in 50 people. Sutherland-Madden, who lives in Orland Park and grew up in Glen Ellyn, found out in 2019 when she had a routine angiogram that she had another brain aneurysm.

Her doctors from the University of Illinois Chicago are monitoring the aneurysm's progress.

"Twenty percent of brain aneurysm survivors have another aneurysm pop up," she said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Sutherland-Madden, who frequently speaks at hospitals and support group meetings, has partnered with the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System to raise funds.

She also serves as the Brain Aneurysm foundation's Illinois ambassador for its "Stop The POP" campaign.

She wrote a book, "Nose Over Toes" which details her recovery and research from the Brain Aneurysm Foundation. "I hope this book will help caregivers and survivors in the recovery process -- and they won't feel alone," Madden says. "There's nothing worse than recovering from a brain aneurysm and not understanding what made you sick."

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