Fear of the unknown immediately crept in when Chasity Authement found out her mother, Mary Babin, had passed out one night in February 2012.
Two weeks before the incident, Mary complained of pressure throughout her head and nagging headaches. Then, the pain spread to her neck and, by that evening, she experienced a headache like none other. Before long, her husband, Lonnie, was dialing 911 and following the ambulance carrying his wife to Terrebonne General Medical Center.
Several tests were run and doctors soon determined Mary suffered from a brain aneurysm rupture, the result of a weak bulging spot on the wall of a brain artery. According to The Brain Aneurysm Foundation, roughly one in 50 people in the United States are diagnosed with an unruptured brain aneurysm in their lifetime and about 30,000 Americans each year suffer a rupture.
“Even the slightest whispers would make her nauseated and leave her in so much pain,” Authement remembered.
Mary was eventually airlifted to Ochsner Hospital in New Orleans and a platinum coil was put around the aneurysm to allow blood to flow. She was monitored for 12 days in the intensive care unit to ensure that subsequent effects such as seizures did not occur.
Today, Mary has very few residual effects from the condition and Authement said her mother only feels a little pain when the weather is very cold.
“We would hear of this happening to people, but most of the stories you would hear were not good results,” Authement said. “Their result was fatal … Those 12 days at the very beginning were very touch-and-go. We just really didn’t know what to expect. Numbers would go up and down and it was just not knowing. It was hard to find peace at the time. A couple of days later, we could see she was doing better, but just hearing what could have happened [was worrisome.]”
As Authement and her sister, Lauren Babin, watched their mother recover, the two knew they had to do something to rally the community to help raise awareness of the condition. Knowing 5K races were popular within Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes, Mary’s daughters went to work planning the Brain Aneurysm Awareness 5K for Mary, now in its third year. Proceeds benefit the work of the Brain Aneurysm Foundation.
These days, Authement serves as race director and said the race will be a time to bring family and friends together to honor those who have passed away and spread the word about the signs and symptoms associated with brain aneurysms. The event, which kicks off at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 29, at Thibodaux’s Peltier Park, will also include an honor wall to remember locals who have died from and those who have survived brain aneurysm ruptures.
“It will be a time for families going through this to come together and show support for each other,” Authement said.
Registration for the 5K is available at give.bafound.org.