By: Erin Hong

Amily Hung is a dynamic 32-year old woman who majored in Environmental Studies at U.C. Berkeley, traveled throughout countless countries around the world, and participated in a number of extreme sports like sky diving and white water rafting. She also survived a ruptured Arterio-Venous Malformation (AVM) at the young age of 21. An AVM is an abnormal fusion between the arteries and veins that most often occurs in a person’s brain or spine. This condition is typically congenital, and as Amily states it, “It’s a genetic defect I’ve had since birth, like a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.” People with AVMs generally don’t know about their condition until symptoms like headaches or seizures appear, and in Amily’s case, her AVM erupted on March 27th 2003 due to elevated brain pressure.

In her story, “Life After A.V.M.,” Amily indicates the survival rate for people with severely ruptured AVMs is less than 1%. With grace, she expresses her gratitude for being alive despite the myriad of struggles and obstacles she faces. Since her brain injury, Amily has lost the ability to move her arms and legs, as well as the ability to speak. She communicates using a system of eye blinks to spell one letter at a time. She can also type using the ring and pinky fingers of her right hand. Regarding her condition, she says, “Quite a few disadvantages, but I’m lucky I’m alive at all.” Amily’s perpetually positive attitude and spunky personality are contagious-her smile gleams and laughter resonates wherever she goes. She is an incredible individual, and all of us at B.R.A.I.N. are lucky to have her in our lives!

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