The Bee Foundation sat down to talk with Ariel Rivera, a member of our Philadelphia Marathon team. Ariel very humbly states that she doesn’t have a huge skillset, but she can run – but if you donate $5 or $15 dollars on her fundraising page she will also send you a hand drawn postcard or collage! The Bee Foundation is immensely grateful for every one of our marathon teammates, and Ariel’s story is especially touching. Read more about how brain aneurysms have personally impacted her and how her marathon training has been going – and don’t forget to donate to receive one of her handmade drawings!
What made you want to raise money for brain aneurysm research?
It means a lot to me. My mom had two brain aneurysms – one when I was 10 and one when I was 18. She passed away, not immediately from the second one, but because of it. I don’t think about it all the time but it changed my life. The first one she had, I was 10, and she recovered but everyone living with her after seeing that recovery was impacted. Research means a lot to me; I’ve followed different treatments online that were not available in 1997 but are now. Not treatments, more like how they do the surgeries and the different types of surgeries, and I can’t believe you can see the progress over a decade and a half. Unfortunately, with other diseases it’s not as clear, it’s just raising money for awareness, which is valid and wonderful of course but I’m excited about raising money to make something happen in research to raise quality of life for people. That would be great because I know what it’s like. I don’t have much of a skill set but I can fundraise and run so if I can help, and this is how I can help, I’m just glad that I can do it with The Bee Foundation.
My grandfather had a brain aneurysm too, and I didn’t even know until I was an adult. In my family, it’s a big concern because it’s been multiple people. It’s very close to my heart. I just think The Bee Foundations is so great and I’m doing this to remember my mom, and I’m so grateful there’s this opportunity to think of her in a practical way and try to help instead of just reflecting – try to do something about it.
How did you hear about The Bee Foundation?
I did a Google search, and maybe saw on Facebook. I’ve been looking for an organization like this for a long time. I only knew about the Brain Aneurysm Foundation and I’m based in Brooklyn, and now apparently, they’re doing runs for brain aneurysm fundraising but at the time couldn’t find any local ones so I was looking for other places. I don’t have many skills but I do run so I want to help in some way, but I don’t know another way. I came across The Bee Foundation and Philly is close enough for me, so I signed up and started running more. Nobody told me at the support groups I’ve been to and I’ve never heard of it, but just looking online
Have you done a marathon before?
I haven’t. I ran in high school but besides that I’ve only run for fun. I’ve been trying to increase my mileage. This is my first marathon but my dad has done a few, when I was growing up, so I know that it can be done! And not only is this a great cause but I know that my dad, who is still alive – he’s healthy and he’s very proud of me – and on a personal level it means a lot. I’m like, “Hey, one of your kids is following in your footsteps and running!” and I’m excited to do that. I’m secretly also excited because he’s always told me growing up that Philly is flat compared to other courses, and thank god because itis my first one and I wouldn’t want to start with something hill like Boston.
How has your training been?
It has been okay, just trying to make sure I don’t fill my body with junk while training. Every step you make, if you’re just eating Halloween candy, it’s not going to help! But there’s a track not too far from my house so even in bad weather, or if I’m intimidated to run around Brooklyn, I can at least run on the track and have no excuse no matter the weather. I just try not to be lazy!
Are you looking to race the marathon or just finish the distance?
I’m looking to finish. Going to be very slow. I know I can finish, I just want to make sure that I do that without hurting myself. I only run for fun now but after four years of cross country in high school I know how easily you can pull a muscle and you’re out of business for months. In training, I just try to be careful and I want to make it to the marathon and not pull anything. It sounds like I’m super scared but I just want to be in top shape and not do anything crazy, and stay on the pace that works for me and not get hurt. I’m not racing at all, but if I could meet other people who are doing this for The Bee Foundation that would be amazing! But I’m not trying to keeping up with anyone.
What is your general knowledge of brain aneurysms? It sounds like you’ve read a bit about the progress in different surgeries.
I’ve donated to other fundraisers but never actually taken initiative, other than posting about it calling for friends to help with the cause. I’ve never said, “Hey guys this is actually a cause that is personal.” Maybe before it felt too soon and I didn’t want to talk about it, like I would give money but not own it. And I read a lot about what progress is being made or when The Bee Foundation makes announcements about offering grants to research – I read those but I don’t know that I know enough to talk to anyone about it because it gets technical. So, when I’m donating or for this fundraiser when I’ve been telling my friends and coworkers, this is very personal and it means a lot. And it affects more people than it should.
The Bee Foundation is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness of brain aneurysms and funding innovative research that saves lives. The Bee Foundation was inspired by Jennifer Sedney, who died December 25, 2013 at the age of 27 from a ruptured brain aneurysm. We look forward to this incredible event that will change the lives of families that are affected by brain aneurysms. Please visit our website www.thebeefoundation.org to learn more about brain aneurysms and the ways you can become involved in this incredible foundation.