Quintrell Griffin was 17 and about to enter her senior year of high school in New Orleans, LA, when her 55-year-old mother, Jackie, who seemed healthy but had been bothered by recent headaches, collapsed from a ruptured brain aneurysm. A week later, Jackie was dead, another victim of a mostly silent condition that affects one in 50 Americans of all ages, from preteens to seniors. The day before Jackie’s aneurysm ruptured, she and Quintrell were having a fun mother-daughter outing, shopping for clothes for Quintrell’s new school year. A little over a week later, Quintrell, her siblings, and her father were preparing a funeral for their beloved mother and wife. As though they weren’t facing enough, the family had to evacuate their home the day following the funeral because of Hurricane Katrina.
Quintrell is now 29 years old and works in the New Orleans Public Defender’s Office. Quintrell still deeply misses her mother, and feels sad that they were unable to share important experiences together, like mother-daughter events at her schools and graduations. “I have a very supportive family, but it’s been tough for all of us,” she says.
Motivated by the knowledge that her mother’s ruptured aneurysm could have been prevented through awareness of the symptoms and early detection and treatment, Quintrell established the Griffin Brain Aneurysm Movement 5K Run/Walk. In two years, the event raised more than $7,000 for the nonprofit Brain Aneurysm Foundation, whose mission is to raise awareness of brain aneurysms; provide education, support services, and research funding; and advocate for patients and caregivers on Capitol Hill.
Says Quintrell, “On days like #GivingTuesday and throughout the year, it’s important to support organizations that help educate people about the symptoms of a brain aneurysm so they can get treatment and hopefully avoid a loss like the one our family experienced.”