Loss is gain for Suntree brief life

The second annual Brianna Marie 5K Run/Walk and Family Festival


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Brianna Marie’s mother, Aran Hissam, presents her team of fetal doctors at the 2013 5K fundraiser: surgeon Dr. Ruben Quinteros of the Jackson Fetal Therapy Institute in Miami, Dr. Bradford Wolk of Hibiscus Woman’s Care and Dr. Timothy O’Leary of Winnie Palmer Fetal Maternal Medicine.

Viera Voice Photo

Suntree parents have turned their loss into gain for future babies and their families. The second annual Brianna Marie 5K Run/Walk and family festival Saturday, March 15 is on track to top the $30,000 raised last year. All funds raised go to advance live-saving surgical techniques performed before a baby is born.

“This story started as one of sadness and tragedy.  A parent can never prepare for the loss of a child,” said Aran Hissam, whose daughter Brianna Marie would have attended Suntree Elementary School with her brothers.

“But over the past 18 months, the story really took on a new meaning. Brianna Marie, in her brief 15 hours of life, showed us what love means, how faith can bring you through anything, and what can come when a community of people turn a major loss into major gain by sharing in the same mission.”

The race will be inside Wickham Park, 2500 Parkway Dr., Pavilion No. 4. Activities begin at 7:30 a.m. and the run managed by Running Zone starts at 8 a.m. A free children’s fun run also begins at 8 a.m., followed by activities to include face painting, bounce houses, train rides and fire truck tours. A silent auction and raffles follow the 5K run.

Since Brianna Marie beat the odds and developed to full term and birth two years ago this month, advancements have already been made because of her. Her fetal surgeon, Dr. Ruben Quintero, has redesigned the next generation of shunts used to drain fluid from tiny lungs with support from a major pharmaceutical company, with hopes of testing them soon. He and fellow team surgeon Dr. Eftichia Kontopoulos of the Jackson Fetal Therapy Institute in Miami will speak on advancements and needs in the fetal surgery field.

Suntree residents will receive a 10 percent discount on run registration by March 7 with the code VIERAVOICE10. To register, view items up for silent auction or get more information on fetal therapies, or to participate in a virtual support group, go to briannamariefoundation.com.VV