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John Madden

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 illnesses.

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.

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