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An interview with Mrs. Paula Yorker-Executive Director Sia Yorker Brain Awareness Foundation

May 31, 2013 by

Michael F. Shaughnessy
Eastern New Mexico University
Portales, New Mexico

  1.  I understand that you and your foundation have recently appeared on television. Tell us about this?

Sia Brain Awareness Foundation aired on the University of Florida Gainesville, campus television station, televised in the Gainesville community.

A reporter from the University of Florida interviewed me and one of the scholarship recipients that will be attending University of Florida.

  1. What was the focus of the program and how long was it?

The focus of the interview was to learn more about the foundation, purpose of the foundation, why the foundation was started, and what benefits is the foundation to the community. The home interview was an hour; the aired program was fifteen minutes.

3.   Now could you provide some information about your foundation for our readers?

Sia Yorker Brain Awareness Scholarship Foundation for High School Seniors began in 2011 in memory of our 19-year-old daughter, Sia Christine Yorker who transitioned from earth to heaven on June 21st, 2011 due to a “Sudden Acute Brain Hemorrhage.

Our Mission is to educate and bring awareness of signs and symptoms of Acute Brain Hemorrhage. In addition, we want to encourage people to be proactive in taking preventive measures in avoiding head injuries as well as to console those that are experiencing pain and grief from the lost of a loved one due to a brain condition.

One of the goals of the foundation is to award scholarships to deserving Central Florida graduating high school seniors who will be full-time students in an accredited Florida college or university with an interest or intent of pursuing Medical/Science course of study.

  1. Signs and Symptoms of acute brain hemorrhage-could you explain all this in layman’s terms?

Indicators and Warning Signs of an acute brain hemorrhage are:

Sudden severe headache, Seizures with no previous history of seizures, Weakness in an arm or leg, Nausea or vomiting, Decreased alertness, Lethargy, Changes in vision, Tingling or numbness, Difficulty speaking or understanding speech, Difficulty swallowing, Difficulty writing or reading, Loss of fine motor skills, such as hand tremors, Loss of coordination, Loss of balance, An abnormal sense of taste, Loss of consciousness.

  1.  I know a bit about traumatic brain injury- how is acute brain hemorrhage different from say a concussion?

Brain Hemorrhage is a type of stroke, caused by an artery in the brain bursting and causing localized bleeding in the surrounding tissues. This bleeding kills brain cells.

The Greek root for blood is hemo. Hemorrhage literally means “blood bursting forth.” Brain hemorrhages are also called cerebral hemorrhages, intracranial hemorrhages, or intracerebral hemorrhages. They account for about 13% of strokes.

Concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that is caused by a blow to the head or body, a fall, or another injury that jars or shakes the brain inside the skull. Although there may be cuts or bruises on the head or face, there may be no other visible signs of a brain injury.

You don’t have to pass out (lose consciousness) to have a concussion. Some people will have obvious symptoms of a concussion, such as passing out or forgetting what happened right before the injury. But other people won’t. With rest, most people fully recover from a concussion. Some people recover within a few hours. Other people take a few weeks to recover.

There may be cuts or bruises on the head or face, there may be no other visible signs of a brain injury.

You don’t have to pass out (lose consciousness) to have a concussion. Some people will have obvious symptoms of a concussion, such as passing out or forgetting what happened right before the injury. But other people won’t. With rest, most people fully recover from a concussion. Some people recover within a few hours. Other people take a few weeks to recover.

  1. Tell us about your angel; Sia, and what you have done to try to remember her.

I would be honored!

Sia was born July 15, 1991 at Bethesda Naval Medical Hospital, Bethesda, Maryland.

Sia attended Deltona Lakes Elementary school where she fondly served as a reporter for the school television program and worked as a hall patrol monitor.  While attending Galaxy Middle School she participated as a vocalist for the school choir. During her tenure at Pine Ridge High School, she mentored many, was an active member of Christian Athletes and became soccer team captain. Sia aspired to become a pediatric doctor and attended the University of North Florida and later Seminole State Community College. One week before the hemorrhage, Sia was accepted into the Medical Program in Gainesville, Florida and was to begin classes in August of 2011.

Sia loved taking pictures, often found with a camera in her hand. She also loved sports, fashions-shopping (High Heel Shoes) theatres, beaches, traveling, all types of music and spending time with family and friends.

Sia loved God, and for the past 11 years, she was an active member at the Gathering Place Worship Center, (TGP) Sanford, Florida. She was a magnet and loved being around children, thus she served in the TGP nursery and often served as a volunteer in the community.

What we have done to remember Sia:

·      In 2011, founded Sia Yorker Brain Awareness Foundation

·      The foundation volunteers with the Volusia County School Board Reading Pal Program at the elementary school Sia attended

·      The House Next Door After School Homework club to help under privilege children with reading

·      The Volusia Country Adopt A Street Program, adopted the street Sia grew up on

·      Conduct Brain Awareness Workshops in schools, colleges and nursing homes, church’s, businesses, etc

·      Present scholarships to graduating high school seniors that are majoring in medicine and healthcare

·      Hosts Brain Awareness Scholarship Banquet and hosts Sia Brain Awareness Walkathon.

·      February 2013 visited Accra, Ghana, educated community on signs and symptoms of Brain Hemorrhage live on radio station.

We are rewarded in knowing that Sia’s legacy inspires and continues to propel others to prosper and move forward.

What comforts our hearts the most is that Jesus Christ is her Lord and Savior and to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord!

7.  I understand that this is a very special time for you and your husband also. Can  you share?

My husband and I recently celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. We originally planned to renew our wedding vows, but it turned out to be a full-blown wedding, reception and honeymoon. I wore the same wedding dress that I was married in 25 years ago. This was very special for me, especially since I saved that dress for Sia.

I would like to take a moment to share my heart with married couples that have lost children. Do not stop living! Although your heartache because you miss your precious child; continue to enjoy the beauty that God has placed around you. Most importantly communicate, express your feelings, listen to one another and do not isolate yourself. Cry when you need to cry and remember to laugh!  We are only here for a short period! God will help you through this!

  1. Do you have a web site where others can find some information about your foundation and Sia?

Yes, and we ask those that visit the website to please leave a comment and register to receive upcoming information at www.siabrainawarenessfoundation.org

Thank you for sharing!

Dr. Michael, on behalf of Sia Yorker Brain Awareness Foundation, we thank you for the interview!

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