‘Red Ball’ to benefit stroke education

BROWNSVILLE — The third annual “Red Ball” to benefit education to fight strokes or “brain attacks” in the Valley will be held on Saturday evening, May 6, 2017 at the Venezzia, located at 5 Event Center Blvd., in Brownsville.

The black-tie event will be an elegant evening featuring food and beverages and musical entertainment. In addition, there will be a short program featuring Valley residents who have survived stroke.

“Once again, Cameron County cities are joining forces together with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association for a united local effort to fight stroke,” said Teri Retana, Market Director of Marketing for Valley Baptist Health System, which is serving as presenting sponsor for the charity event. “Sponsorship and support of this event will be used locally to help stop stroke … this is an opportunity for Valley residents, medical professionals, and the business community to come together, to help make stroke preventable, treatable and beatable, right here at home.”

Stroke is a type of cardiovascular disease which affects the arteries leading to the brain and the arteries within the brain.

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, and that part of the brain starts to die.

Each year in the United States, approximately 795,000 people suffer a stroke. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States – and a serious cause of disability. In the Valley, many residents are at risk of stroke because of high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.

Dr. Ameer E. Hassan, DO, FAHA, FSVIN, Head of the Neuroscience Department, Director of Endovascular Surgical Neuroradiology and Director of Clinical Neuroscience Research at Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen, who serves on the Red Ball planning committee, said that while strides have been made in stroke education in the Rio Grande Valley, there is still more work to be done to educate the community.

“What we’ve done in the Valley, in terms of increasing our IV-tpA numbers from 3 percent to 13 percent in a matter of a few years, and increasing the treatment, whether endovascular or IV-tpA, from 3 percent of patients to 25 percent, is amazing,” he said. “That’s happened because we’ve worked well with the community. We’ve focused on educating the community and first responders as well as local EMS and we need to continue our efforts.”

Proceeds from the “Red Ball” event to stop stroke will benefit local educational efforts of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Those who would like more information on the gala may call (956) 893-0534 or e-mail redballRGV@gmail.com.

Information is also available on FaceBook, by searching for “The Red Ball-Benefitting Education to Stop Stroke in the RGV.”

It’s important for Valley residents to know the following warning signs of stroke and teach them to others – because with stroke, every second counts:

• Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg – especially on one side of the body

• Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding

• Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes

• Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

• Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Stroke is a medical emergency – call 911 immediately if you or someone you know experiences symptoms. Learning to recognize the warning signs of stroke and acting quickly when they occur can mean the difference in surviving a stroke and minimizing long-term disability, or being physically and mentally devastated and dying from stroke.