a 501c3 non-profit public benefit organization
Aortic Warriors was founded in 2013 by Dr Peter Tsai. However, the journey was never travelled alone. After surviving his ascending aorta rupture and dissection down to his left femoral artery which resulted in paralysis of both legs on November 30, 2009, he spent most of 2010 learning how to walk again, to regain strength, and soul searched to see how to recreate the second part of his life. [Read his story here] During the year of self-managed recovery, dealing with depression, constant and daily bouts of pain, and the forever self questioning of "When will I die?", he felt alone in this journey. One day, on a whim, Dr Peter registered on Facebook and found solace from a support page called "Survivors of Aortic Dissection". There were barely 300 people on the page in 2010. He also found a plethora of educational information from Brian Tinsley's website aorticdissection.com. But something was missing. No one outside of this circle knew what the heck Aortic Dissection was! How can something that was once ranked the 15th highest death rate in the U.S. with 80% mortality rate that affects over 40 thousand people a year be so unknown. Why?
"Well? There IS no answer to WHY. There's only What Am I Going To Do About It?" said Dr Peter. After months of consideration and battling with fatigue, on April 18, 2013, Dr Peter posted on Survivors of Aortic Dissection support page and expressed his idea about starting an organization made up of a group of survivors for the benefit of new survivors. He asked for suggestions in names for this organization. Here are the names of those people who put in their comments: Whitney Neill, Bev Clarke, Diane Clayton, Betsey Luipold, Kelly Zimmerman, Traci Taylor, Lisa Blake Watts, Suzanne Morrell, Lorna Woolverton, Amy Husted Schmidt, Steve Gee, Walker J Thomas, Deb Rother, Carole Lippart Meicke, Chris Kasper, Ann Nicole Busby, Renata Welchman Johnson, Kimberlee Jones, and Jodi Bevan.
There were great suggestions of names that represented our condition, Aortic Dissection. But Dr Peter wanted something that survivors can identify with. "I want to create something with survivors of Aortic Dissection to support the new survivors of Aortic Dissection. I want to create a family of survivors so no one will feel alone like I did." That was how Aortic Warriors was born.
3. We've all emerged from the valley of shadow of death!
4. Warriors for OUR LIFE! Not just mere survivors.
5. We're a family unified by a "separation", a "dissection", a "rupture", a "tear".
6. We are each strong in that of ourselves, yet combined each of our strengths, we become a bundle of unbreakable strength, unwavering faith, and unrelenting pursuit for the welfare of those who suffer from this condition.
~ Taken from Dr Peter's journal dated April 20, 2013, the birthdate of Aortic Warriors.
For the rest of 2013, logos, t-shirts, awareness bracelets, educational postcards were created and sent world wide.
During early 2014, Dr Peter battled depression and fatigue. "This journey is not easy to walk alone. Although the love of family and friends support is always there, and although we wear a smiley face, the battle is inside. Some fights, you need to go thru alone. This is what makes us WARRIORS! It is surviving the battles unseen."
In July 2014, one person's support helped Dr Peter get his motivation back. Janet Betts, a fellow survivor. "I was in Vancouver Canada and had some kind of an attack. At the time, I really thought I was going to die. I left my wife instructions just in case tragedy stuck. I couldn't get online to ask questions to find help. Janet was instrumental in helping me thru that dark time. I've never met Janet except via Facebook! Once I got back to the states, I knew that kind of support was what Aortic Warriors had to be about! It's a family of survivors." Thank you Janet!!!
In October 2014, volunteers came on board to help Aortic Warriors move forward with new ideas and projects. These are names of people who stepped up and contributed: Connxtance Rodriquez, Janet Betts, Traci Taylor, Andrea Kloese Brownell-Ferenc, Michelle Groff, Judy Johnson Roth, Joanna Husted McIntire, Melinda Whiteside Ross, Allison Seed.
In November 2014, the Memorial Wall of Fallen Aortic Warriors was created on AorticWarriors.org.
On December 1st, 2014, Aortic Warriors launched Facebook Community Page.
Since then, we've participated in various health fairs speaking and educating the public about this condition. We've interviewed survivors and those who's lost love ones to this Silent Killer in hope to educate and inspire survivors and anyone who has never heard of Aortic Dissection, Aortic Rupture, and or Aortic Aneurysm. "It would be amazing to just have people know what is an AORTA and to make sure they check it." said Dr Peter. "Our public campaign message is 'Not Just Your Heart, Check Your AORTA Too!"
On Feb 9, 2015, Aortic Warriors Facebook Community Page reached 1000 Likes!
On March 11, 2015, Aortic Warriors Non Profit Corporation approved.
June 30, 2015, Aortic Warriors, Inc received IRS classification of 501c3 as a non-profit, public benefits charitable organization.
September 21, 2015, Aortic Warriors, Inc launched Aortic Dissection Awareness Ribbon to the public on Facebook.
There's still a lot more work to do. More people to talk to. More lives to save. We can't do this alone. Please help us!