BAF Changemakers: Lynne and Joe Caruso

Lynne and Joe Caruso of Gloucester, MA – founders of KATELYN’s CREW

After losing their daughter, Katelyn, to a ruptured brain aneurysm in January of 2023, Lynne and Joe Caruso have made it their mission to honor Katelyn’s life by raising awareness of this silent killer. In March of 2023, they formed “KATELYN’s CREW,” a team dedicated to raising funds for brain aneurysm research by hosting events focusing on Katelyn’s love of fun, travel, family, and friends. They have raised over $100K for the BAF in the past year.

Katelyn M. Caruso 12/23/1991 ~ 1/9/2023

BAF: Tell us a little about your connection with brain aneurysms.

Katelyn and her fiancé Brett Summer 2022 Annisquam Light

L&J: We had just spent five amazing days with our beloved daughter, Katelyn, celebrating her 31st birthday, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with lots of family, then two vacation days relaxing with her and family and enjoying our time together while finalizing her wedding plans and her new home renovation. So much to be happy about and look forward to!  Just 12 hours after she left us, unfortunately, everything changed. On December 28, 2022, during her routine early morning workout, Katelyn suffered from a ruptured brain aneurysm. She was unresponsive and transported to the nearest trauma center. After many long, grueling days of complex medical decisions, surgery, many medical procedures,  the unwavering care of her medical team, and her amazing show of strength and courage through it all, she passed away on January 9, 2023. Our world was shattered and we continually ask “How can this happen to such a strong young healthy person?”

Katelyn was the picture of health: extremely active, athletic, and a successful occupational therapist, so full of life and fun! She had so much to look forward to in life!  She was a fantastic athlete growing up and was passionate about fitness and running. She was also passionate about her career as an Occupational Therapist and Certified Hand Specialist. She loved to help her patients progress and heal. She was engaged to the love of her life, Brett. They were to marry in May 2023, just a few short months away. She had a beautiful future ahead, filled with everything you could possibly ask for. Having it all end so suddenly is hard for many of us to understand. 

December 25, 2022…Christmas Day, three days before her rupture.

You just can’t put into words what such a devastating loss of such a beautiful young life has on so many family members, friends, coworkers, and caring acquaintances. Her love and bright light touched so many lives. Her compassion for all aspects of her life and her love of fun, travel, and friendships was unmatched. We knew immediately we had to honor Katelyn’s life and legacy and raise awareness and education for this devastating silent killer. Something positive to honor Katelyn needed to be done in light of such an enormous tragedy for so many of us. Helping others avoid this tragic outcome is so important and critical to save lives.

BAF: When did you first learn about the BAF?

L&J: We knew our mission of giving back in Katelyn’s honor and making a difference in other people’s lives would be twofold. We immediately set up the Katelyn M. Caruso Memorial Scholarship Fund, which awards a $5000 scholarship annually to a scholar athlete pursuing OT or Health Science at her alma mater. Our second goal was to somehow help others who are suffering with brain aneurysms and make a difference by giving back to this cause. We came across the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, which is based in Boston. They were holding their annual Run/Walk – NewEngland shortly after Katelyn passed, and we knew this was a perfect match and start for our efforts to give back. Katelyn loved running, and a perfect day for her would have been a race then an afternoon of food and drinks with friends. The BAF Walk was an ideal place for so many of her family and friends to gather, remember Katelyn, have fun, and give back to this cause. 

Katelyn’s Crew Logo…the hands represent her Helping Hands as an OT that she used to help heal so many patients, and the red heart represents brain aneurysm awareness and our love for KMC!

“We formed her team, KATELYN’s CREW in March of 2023 and never looked back.”

Her Crew is a group of amazing, generous, heartfelt, caring people who always step up for a good cause. The outpouring of support for the walk and team was amazing. Despite a freezing cold, windswept rainy day in April, 250+ walkers and runners showed up to support KATELYN’s CREW and BAF. It was a huge success, raising $43K for her Chair of Research. It was truly a fantastic day filled with love and remembrance for Katelyn. She would have loved everything about that day! 

Katelyn’s Crew at BAF Run/Walk New England in Boston in April 2023, enjoying the day just like she would!

BAF: Why is it important for you to be an advocate and fundraise for the BAF community?

L&J: KATELYN’s CREW is committed to helping support the Brain Aneurysm Foundation. We hold various events and fundraisers focusing on things she loved doing. They focus on her love of fun, travel, family, and friends. Awareness, critical research, and funding for essential initiatives like Scan2Save are so important and can make such a difference in the future of so many lives. Just a simple scan can be life-changing for many and save many lives. We know firsthand how critically important a scan can be and how, if it is accessible, it can change the outcome for many. Education and awareness of signs are so important as well! Our mission is to help in these efforts.

Our fundraising efforts helped fund the Katelyn M. Caruso Chair of Research, which was awarded in Charleston, SC, in 2023. Critical research is funded to assist with better diagnosis and treatments of brain aneurysms. It was great to see the funds raised go immediately and directly to the important initiatives underway. KATELYN’s CREW will continue to raise funds and spread awareness doing things Katelyn loved. We have successfully raised over $100K this past year for BAF and are committed to continuing to help make a difference for others while honoring Katelyn. 

Research Grant Symposium, Charleston, SC – September 2023 Presenting the Katelyn M. Caruso Chair of Research

Please feel free to follow our fundraising efforts on Instagram @Katelyns_crew or Facebook

If you would like to help KATELYN’s CREW raise funds for BAF and the Katelyn M. Caruso Chair of Research please donate below: