Governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe declares September Hydrocephalus Awareness Month
by Annie Mason, Virginia Community Network Co-Leader
Virginia Community Network Co-Leaders, Kayleigh Brodeur and Annie Mason, joined by our families, had a wonderful experience sharing our personal stories of life with hydrocephalus with Governor McAuliffe on Monday, September 12, 2016. We were invited by the Governor’s staff for a personal meeting and photo opportunity to receive our proclamation declaring September 1 as Hydrocephalus Awareness Day and the month of September as Hydrocephalus Awareness Month.
When we arrived, we were escorted to the 3rd floor Conference Room where we barely had time to sit down before in came Governor McAuliffe. He shook hands with all, then sat down to talk with us. It was evident that he had done his homework and knew some information about cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and brain pressures. He also knew that as many as 1 million people might be affected by hydrocephalus in the United States.
The Governor seemed quite interested in the shunt system so Kayleigh asked that her 6-year-old son show him his shunt. The Governor was amazed as he touched and tracked the shunt from his head and down his neck. Kayleigh also noted that former Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords acquired hydrocephalus after her tragic gun shot wound to the head. Governor McAuliffe reacted with surprise and noted that Ms. Giffords was currently visiting the Governor’s Mansion. My daughter also shared about her current treatment, an endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV), but was quick to point out that it was still brain surgery and could fail.
After picture-taking with all of us, the Governor gave out official coins, then abruptly said, “Kids, let me do one more thing. Do you want to sit in my chair?” He opened his office door and invited us in.
Our families will remember this day for the rest of our lives. We are so proud to say that our Governor knows what Hydrocephalus is and that we could share our personal journeys with him.
Photos courtesy of the Governor’s official photographer. Click on a photo to enlarge. (View the official photos here.)