Sharon’s Story

I’m Sharon Epperson. I’m Senior Personal Finance Correspondent at CNBC. I’m also a brain aneurysm survivor and so I’ve become not only a financial health advocate but a health and wellness advocate for every aspect of your life. I was going to the gym to work out one morning and I was in a downward-facing dog yoga pose, and I felt the worst headache that I’ve ever felt. And it wasn’t even a headache. It was just excruciating pain in my head and I knew that I needed to get out of that Core Bar studio where I was working out and get home. My husband came and he picked me up, and I should have gone immediately to the emergency department at the nearest hospital, but I went home. 

I put my feet up. He got me a coffee. I told work I wasn’t coming in that day, and I still didn’t feel any better. And so he said, “Let me take you to the doctor, we’ll see what’s going on.” And rather than just tell me to take some pain medication and go home, he said, “Go to the nearest hospital. We need to make sure we get some imaging of what’s happening.” And when I went to the nearest hospital and had a CT scan, they found bleeding on my brain. I was in emergency brain surgery. I had open brain surgery or craniotomy that evening. So from 9 AM when that class started to midnight, I had a day that I would have never imagined, a day that I thankfully haven’t forgotten, and a day that was one of the greatest blessings of my life. 

The most important thing that we can do right now is to raise awareness about brain aneurysms. What are they? How do they happen? What can we do to try to prevent them? Unfortunately, we don’t hear about them until most often the person is deceased. And so I think one of the things I really would love to see more people do for their lives, no matter what issues they’ve had in terms of their medical history, is to just know their family medical history. Also, innovative treatments because God forbid it does happen to another family member. I want to know that the best strategies out there to save their life are available, in order to do that, the researchers, the scientists, the doctors who are working so hard already in trying to develop these technologies, they need money. 

So the little bit of fundraising that I can do with my family and friends, I am very happy to do and very proud of the success we’ve had. But we need lawmakers to increase federal funding for brain aneurysm research specifically.