Building bonds

When Dr. Melfort Boulton learned about the Running Against Ruptures event, he immediately wanted to participate.

It is a 5K run, held annually in London to raise funds for brain aneurysm research and awareness.

For this neurosurgeon, the event brought together opportunities to build awareness and create a support system for survivors.

Dr. Boulton came across the event in its early stages after a patient asked him about support groups in the city for people currently being treated for, who have survived aneurysms, and who have lost loved ones.

“I thought to myself, that’s something that I should get involved with; it’s a great way to support patients,” Dr. Boulton explained.

Cindy Ivanitz, alongside her sister, founded and organized the Running Against Ruptures event, which began as a way to remember their father, who died unexpectedly due to an aneurysm.

The event’s goal is to bring survivors and families a greater sense of support and understanding of a topic that few are aware.

As a participant for the past four years, Dr. Boulton shares that goal.

“I think it’s a chance to be more of a human being and not somebody who’s guiding somebody’s future. This is more of a chance to relate on an individual level,” Dr. Boulton said. “By doing that, I think people gain more trust, more understanding, and see that medicine isn’t just like taking your car and getting a brake job. Physicians have a commitment to their patients and it goes beyond the immediate treatment. It goes to other spheres of their life,” he added.

The Brain Aneurysm Foundation’s Running Against Ruptures event allows survivors to come together and show support for one another, and to connect on a level that only those facing the long-term damages of aneurysms can.

Dr. Boulton believes the event provides an opportunity for survivors to bond, share their stories and find comfort from others who have had the same experience.

“To see that comradery among the participants who are virtually strangers but who share a common issue is really impressive. It’s wonderful to see how they support one another,” said Dr. Boulton.

The 2017 run, which Dr. Boulton sponsored, raised more than $20,000, with 121 registered participants. And more than $18,000 was raised from 99 participants during the 2018 run.

Ivanitz is grateful for this level of support.

“The funds stay in Canada and are used for literature to raise awareness and to educate the community,” she said.

“We want to capture people who maybe feel isolated so that they have awareness and they know there’s ruptured aneurysm support. If you can reach just a few people then I think that makes it worthwhile,” Dr. Boulton said.