Board Member Since 2015
Pam Finlayson has been involved in the hydrocephalus community for over 30 years, since her daughter Kate acquired the condition following a brain hemorrhage suffered as a premature infant. During Kate’s lifetime (in which she endured over 130 surgeries to combat her hydrocephalus), Pam became familiar with the wide-ranging challenges with which families and patients affected by hydrocephalus must struggle–from ever-changing medical, developmental, physical and educational needs, to the difficulty of simply finding appropriate information, treatment and support when dealing with a poorly understood, yet life-threatening, condition.
Along with her two adult sons, Peter and Sam, Pam helped organize and currently co-chairs Team Hydro, a team of swimmers dedicated to raising awareness and funds to support the research required to understand and develop better treatment options — and ultimately a cure — for hydrocephalus. Team Hydro has organized and inspired hundreds of swimmers (from ages 6 to 69, and proficiency levels ranging from casual recreational swimmers to NCAA champions and Olympic athletes) to get in the water and swim in support of hydrocephalus awareness and research. Founded in 2008, Team Hydro has sought to promote and support the Association’s efforts to find a cure by organizing Team Hydro’s participation in mostly swim related events, including annual open water swims from Alcatraz to San Francisco, across the Boston Harbor, and a Potomac River crossing. Team Hydro has also co-sponsored four Swim for Hydrocephalus Events with a school-age group swim team in Bethesda, Maryland. These events not only raise funds for research, but seek to generate awareness, and provide education regarding Hydrocephalus to all those involved. Each swimmer receives the personal story of an individual hydrocephalus patient (living or in memoriam) to help personalize and instill empathy for the tremendous challenges of this poorly understood condition, and then dedicates his or her swim in honor of that patient. Since its founding, Team Hydro has raised over one-half million dollars — 100% of which has gone directly to fund research for a cure.
Pam has been a devoted vocal advocate for all hydrocephalus patients and has spoken to school, church, medical, and community groups on issues relating to the condition. In 2012, she was invited to speak at the Republican National Convention, sharing her story with millions of households across the nation. A former math and science teacher, Pam also currently volunteers her time as a mentor for high school students in the under-served community of Richmond in the San Francisco bay area. Pam is honored to join the board and looks forward to working to ensure that every patient (and their families) has access to the information, treatment and support they need to live meaningful and productive lives while living with the challenges of hydrocephalus.