Many people say that John Madden was born to coach, and
that may be true. In fact, John has enjoyed several successful careers,
all centering around the world of sports. He is the well-known former
NFL football head coach who led the Oakland Raiders to victory in Super
Bowl XI, he has authored several best-selling books, and he has received
13 Emmy Awards over 21 seasons as a popular TV sports broadcaster.
Currently, John Madden is seen and heard weekly on the "Monday Night Football"
television program. When he isn't traveling the country from assignment
to assignment in his Madden Cruiser bus (John refuses to fly), this California
native is a husband, father and grandfather who resides with his wife,
Virginia, in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Maddens have two sons.
John Madden Coaches The Public About Vascular Disease
Because of his wife's health experiences, John Madden recently recorded Public
Service Announcements on behalf of the Pacific Vascular Research Foundation,
a San Francisco-based, non-profit organization that supports medical research
and public education to help prevent death and disability from vascular diseases. The
new PSAs are airing on participating radio
stations. The Foundation also has produced a PSA for television.
While in her mid-40s, my wife, Virginia, developed a health condition that,
frankly, at the time we didn't know anything about. At first it was misdiagnosed.
Fortunately, we ended up going to the right doctor, Dr. Ron Stoney, a vascular
surgeon at University of California, San Francisco, who correctly identified
the problem - a blocked carotid artery, the main blood vessel that leads through
the neck to the brain - a condition that can be deadly if not treated.
Today, Virginia is fine and our family is better informed. We learned
her condition was a vascular disease and we learned that vascular disease is
a silent killer.
Virginia's condition opened our eyes to vascular diseases, a world of serious
medical conditions affecting arteries and veins. Like us, very few people are
familiar with vascular diseases. People have heard about heart attacks, but
they may not know what causes them, even though a heart attack is usually the
result of a problem with an artery. And people have heard about strokes,
which are often called "brain attacks" because they affect the brain the way
heart attacks affect the heart -- through a problem or blockage in an artery.
There again, people may not connect the term "stroke" to vascular disease, but
they're one and the same.
Do you know, for example, that every thirty seconds, someone in the U.S. dies
from an artery or vein or heart disease? And, perhaps most importantly,
do you know that vascular disease is not just a condition affecting women or
older folks, but is one that can affect people across all ethnic groups and
ages? You see, not only did Virginia have this problem, our young grandson,
Sam, has a vascular disorder similar to the condition that afflicts Casey Martin,
the talented golfer who can't walk the course and needs a golf cart to get around.
So, the Madden family knows first-hand the importance of learning about these
The fact is, vascular diseases are life-threatening, potential killers that
can strike anyone at any age at any time. As they age, women become particularly
vulnerable to vascular illnesses. In fact, one in two women over age 55
dies from vascular illness - one in two! Cardiovascular (heart and blood
vessel) disease is the leading cause of death in the United States -- one million
people die from it annually and as the population ages the number is growing.
Other vascular diseases, excluding the heart, account for a third of a million
deaths and cripple half of the survivors. These diseases include stroke,
abdominal aortic aneurysm, high blood pressure and kidney failure, peripheral
vascular (arterial) disease and vein (venous) disease.
But there are dedicated scientists and doctors who are trying to get to the
bottom of these diseases. The nonprofit Pacific Vascular Research Foundation
(PVRF), headquartered in San Francisco, is a public benefit, charitable foundation
that supports innovative research into the causes and treatment of vascular
diseases. PVRF also educates physicians and patients, and conducts ongoing
public outreach programs to alert the public about this serious health threat.
PVRF supports a scientific research facility, the Pacific Vascular Research
Laboratory, located at the world-renowned medical facilities at University of
California, San Francisco (UCSF), and awards grants to academic doctor/scientists
engaged in independent, breakthrough research into life-saving treatments for
vascular disease. One of the Laboratory's newly developed therapies will
soon be in clinical trials.
The Maddens are doing what we can to help people learn more about vascular disorders.
I think it's like preparing a team for any upcoming game or challenge - the
more you know about your potential opponent, the better prepared you are and
the greater the likelihood you'll be successful. So, if you're interested
in learning more and joining the fight against death and disability from vascular
disease, contact the Pacific Vascular Research Foundation toll free at 1-866-4-VASCULAR
(1-866-482-7285). PVRF has free brochures on the subject and is in the
process of launching its own information-filled web site at www.pvrf.org.
Created: 1/21/2003  - Donnica Moore, M.D.