Help Raise Awareness of Genetic Aortic Disorders

For the second year, on November 18, 2017, #SailsofLight at Canada Place , Vancouver, will be lit red recognizing awareness of genetic aortic disorders in Canada. GADA is thankful to the Port of Vancouver for helping to spread awareness of all genetic aortic disorders related to Marfan syndrome.

Show your support by connecting with GADA on Facebook and Twitter and share this post through your social networks. 

Canada Place Sails of Light are illuminated each evening from dusk to dawn, with seasonal vibrant colours, displays and animation. The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority offers local charities and non-profit events, the opportunity to build awareness for their cause or organization by illuminating the Sails of Light in colours themed to the specific cause. 

Toronto Genetic Aortic Disorders & Marfan Peer Support Network

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In September 2017, GADA hosted a 'Genetic Aortic Disorders & Marfan Peer Support Network' meeting for members of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Thanks to the initiative taken by GADA members; Tami Friedman, Nicole Pleten and Katy Hornsby; 17 members from around the GTA, who are affected by a genetic aortic disorder, were happy to connect with each other for peer support.  

The group expressed that the meeting was very beneficial and have planned to get together again for a fun & games meet up on December 2nd @ 11 a.m. at A Game Cafe, Toronto  Click Here for event details

To stay connected with each other, a closed Facebook group has been set up called ‘Friends of GADA GTA’. If interested to join the GTA group or if you would like GADA to help start a support group in your area, please send us an email.

Research Vision for a Brighter Future: Montalcino Aortic Consortium

GADA Canada hosted the second Montalcino Aortic Consortium (MAC) Summit in May 2017. The Summit was a two-day conference held in Tuscany, Italy. Twenty-nine aortic disease specialists (physicians and researchers) from around the world (USA, Canada, Europe, Australia and Japan), with a range of clinical disciplines including; Cardiovascular Genetics/Medicine, Adult Cardiology, Pediatric Cardiology, Cardiovascular Surgery, Ophthalmology, Imaging and Molecular Research, participated in the Summit.

The Summit was a huge success! There were intensive discussions between the specialists to accelerate research based on their patients' observations. We look forward to results of the MAC that will change the future for our loved ones affected by any of the genetically triggered aortic diseases.



In May 2016, Frankie Aiello, died from an acute aortic dissection at the age of 28. Frankie was well-built and a great athlete. Like the Canadian actor, Alan Thicke, Frankie was playing hockey when he experienced chest pain a short while before he passed away. 

In May 2017, Frankie’s family hosted a memorial service at the Oshawa Golf Club. Frankie was remembered by his closest family and friends, who donated to GADA $ 1,000 in support of promoting awareness of genetic aortic disorders. Thank you!

We humbly thank Frankie’s brother, Joseph Aiello, and ‘Just Energy Foundation Canada’ for donating $ 485 to GADA in honor of Frankie.

Frankie’s family and friends realize the importance of raising awareness of aortic disorders as an effort to help save lives in the future; for this we are tremendously thankful! 

We extend our heartfelt gratitude and to all our members who donated towards our cause in memory of a lost loved one.  

14th Annual JASON 'RUFFY' KEITH Memorial Raises $ 1,600 in Pool Tournament Fundraiser

In April 2017, family and friends participated in the 14th annual Jason ‘Ruffy’ Keith Memorial Pool Tournament fundraiser. The memorial fundraiser was organized by Jason’s family at Dooly’s in Moncton, NB.

Once again, the turnout of supporters was exceptional! With 34 pool players and many supporters, the event raised $ 1600 in memory of beloved Jason Keith. These proceeds were kindly donated to GADA Canada.

We are truly grateful to Jason’s parents, Dave and Pam Keith, Jason’s brother, John, and Drew LaPointe, General Manager, Dooly’s, Moncton, NB, for organizing this fundraising event for 14 years in loving memory of their son and brother, Jason. Jason passed away in 2003 from Marfan syndrome.

We are humbled by the continued support received from Jason's friends, family, and the local community who come together every year to cherish Jason's memory and support the work of our organization. THANK YOU!

On Mother’s Day, it’s off to work for ‘Dr. Mom’ the heart surgeon

Take the time to read this great profile highlighting the exceptional work and commitment of Dr. Maral Ouzounian, Cardiovascular Surgeon in Toronto. We are honoured to have Dr. Ouzounian on GADAs' Professional Advisory Board and the Montalcino Aortic Consortium.

The only female surgeon on a downtown Toronto hospital’s cardiac team is also a scientist, professor and mother — and the one on call on Mother’s Day. Read More

Genetics Behind Aneurysms 

Dr. Milewicz informs about how genes can predict progression of aortic aneurysms to dissections. Genes can also predict other vascular disease the patients may be at risk for. Genetic testing and routine imaging from the head to the pelvis are important to monitor aneurysms of the aorta and other arteries in patients with aortic disease. Dr. Milewicz explains how mutations in the ACTA2 gene can cause enlargement of the aorta and also cause occlusion (closure) of other arteries, indicating the urgent need for research to understand underlying pathways that are responsible for differences in clinical manifestations of genetically triggered aortic disease. Click here for the video

Physician-Scientists are crucial to our future

Dianna Milewicz, MD, PhD, Chair of GADAs’ Professional Advisory Board and Executive Chair of the international Montalcino Aortic Consortium (MAC), explains why Physician-Scientists are crucial for the future, having a significant role in developing better treatments and saving lives. The Physician-Scientist workforce has been declining, and we need to change that trend in order to solve human deceases. Click here for the video

Dr. Milewicz is the President George H.W. Bush Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine, Director of the Division of Medical Genetics and Vice-Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Centre at Houston, Texas, USA.  

Bill Paxton passes away from a stroke following aortic surgery

(CNN) - Actor Bill Paxton died of a stroke after heart surgery, according to his death certificate, issued Monday by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. He was 61 years old.

The surgery, which replaced his aortic valve and repaired an aortic aneurysm, took place February 14. He died February 25 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Read More