Meet Amy Derksen of Team Ritter

Amy Derksen will be one of 15 individuals running to raise money and increase awarenesss of thoracic aortic disease for the John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health (JRF) at the ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 4, 2012.  Funds from the NYC Marathon raised for the JRF will go to the John Ritter Research Program in Aortic and Vascular Diseases (JRRP) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) to support research to identify genetic risks for aortic dissections. 

Meet Amy: 

In 2009, with no known history of heart or aortic disease, then 37-year-old Amy Derksen was shocked to discover that she had a bicuspid aortic valve, a birth defect that led to a thoracic aortic aneurysm requiring immediate surgery. In a bicuspid valve, there are only two leaflets instead of the normal three, which allows blood to backwash and puts stress on the thoracic aorta. “At the time, I was busy raising an 18-month-old and a 3-year-old and I was in the best shape of my life,” said the Denver resident, who blogged about the experience. “I soon realized that I was so lucky and blessed that the condition was diagnosed before it was too late.” Now 40, the former public relations manager is a member of Mended Hearts and has visited patients in the hospital to share her story. She is also an avid runner with a lifelong goal to run a marathon. “I am passionate about telling people about aortic disease and passing on the Ritter Rules whenever the opportunity presents itself.  I proudly wear my scar as a reminder to live life to its fullest and be thankful for every day,” she said.

Text RITTERAD to 41444 to donate $10 (or specify a different amount in the text message) to JRF to support Amy’s run. Or donate online:

Read the full press release here.

Deborah Mann Lake, UTHealth Media Relations
Media Hotline: 713-500-3030





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