Help Save Lea's Brain!

Family, friends, and friends of friends,

I'm writing with regards to someone who I, and many of you, know and love dearly, who was recently diagnosed with a very rare and progressive brain disease called moyamoya.

Lea has spent the past 2 years completing her Master's degree in Speech Language Pathology at LSU and has spent countless hours conducting research specifically on stroke and aphasia. Needless to say, she knows the brain. But it wasn't until recently that she got to know her own. Ironically, while on her way to treat stroke patients at the hospital in April, Lea experienced a minor stroke. After various tests in the ER, the doctors were ready to dismiss the incident as a migraine. But with Lea's extensive knowledge on the subject, her incredible intuition, and that North Jersey perseverance we all know and love, she was unsatisfied with this outcome and advocated that she speak with a neurologist. After doing so, the neurologist was able to diagnose her with moyamoya, a condition in which certain arteries in her brain are constricted and the blood flow is blocked.

The only current treatment for moyamoya is bypass surgery to increase the blood flow to the parts of her brain that aren't getting enough. As a result, she is at a very high risk of having a major stroke until then. Thus, Lea will be undergoing brain surgery on July 22. The surgery, as you could imagine, is complex. The good news, though, is that the outcome is hopeful, as it should reduce the risk of stroke in her lifetime to about 6%. However, there's still a long road ahead. So if you're looking to share your support from near or far, I've set up this page to do just that. With the high costs of medical bills Lea will have for the rest of her life, travel expenses across the country to meet with brain specialists, in addition to the simple costs of living, it's a difficult time for her, especially being that she is unable to seek employment and put her new degree to use until a few months after surgery. That said, any donation at all would be greatly appreciated, as it would take that much more weight off of her shoulders.

Lea has been nothing short of a hero through this journey and we are inspired by the love, support, and positive energy that has kept her smiling along the way. Lea's brain may have some kinks, but we can't say the same for her heart. She has dedicated an admirable amount of energy helping children with cancer through Penn State's Dance MaraTHON, and now plans to dedicate the rest of her life helping adults with speech, swallowing and cognitive impairments. So, please share this with anyone you think may want to help so that she can jump this hurdle and begin helping others with conditions just like hers. And of course, remember to keep Lea in your thoughts.

Thank you again for all the support.

All the love to you -
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Joey Albanese 
New Orleans, LA
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