“Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller
The Rowan Foundation is thankful for its connection with Dru West, a supporter of our mission since the earliest days of the Foundation’s inception, and also a genuine friend to its founders.
The Rowan Foundation’s relationship with Dru is grounded in a shared experience: Like the Rowan Family, Dru’s family has endured tragic loss. In 2013, their cherished daughter, sister, and wife Julia lost her life to a massive pulmonary embolism (blood clot in her lung) linked to hormonal contraception. Julia (pictured with this post) was just 29 years old, and recently married, when she suddenly became seriously ill. The pulmonary embolism she experienced was not diagnosed prior to her passing. Julia exhibited none of the more common signs of blood clots. However, her family’s extensive research, combined with a formal review by her hospital team, showed that her hormonal contraceptive NuvaRing likely caused the deadly blood clot she experienced.
Following the loss of her daughter, Dru swiftly became an expert on the topic of blood clots and birth control and a fierce health advocate focused on women’s health and the risks connected to combined hormonal contraception. Today, she also applies this expertise as the Board President of the USA Patient Network, a nonprofit network of patients, caregivers, and their friends and family members who are dedicated to strengthening the safety and effectiveness of pharmaceuticals and medical devices for patients through advocacy and education.
Over the past ten years, Dru has been a constant light in the orbit of the Rowan Foundation, as well as a consistent source of compassion and support. She has shared her time and expertise as an ambassador of our mission, and she has tapped into her own social media network to share our resources and online educational tools. Dru also has generously contributed to our cause and hosted several online fundraisers to support the Rowan Foundation’s mission-driven educational initiatives.
We believe that our connection with Dru has endured over time and will continue well into the future due to our shared passion for helping women recognize the potential risks associated with hormonal contraception and also the signs and symptoms of life-threatening blood clots that signal the need to seek medical care.
We are grateful for Dru’s loyalty to our Foundation’s mission, and, equally important, we value our personal connection and friendship with her. Our shared dedication to advocacy work focused on the blood clot risks linked to hormonal contraception binds us, while our commitment to honor the legacy of our beloved daughters fuels our fervor to help prevent the type of loss we have endured from touching other families.
The Rowan Foundation is grateful for its connection with Sara Wyen, founder of the Blood Clot Recovery Network (BCRN), as she has played an instrumental role in helping us to expand our reach and establish other important connections with individuals in the clotting community.
Herself a blood clot survivor, Sara understands the importance of the work that the Rowan Foundation does, and on more than one occasion has noted that the personal story of the Foundation’s namesake – Alexandra Rowan – is one story that resonates strongly with her. Sara realizes that her own story could have turned out quite differently given her blood clot experience, and she is therefore dedicated to giving back to the community and creating her own legacy — not to serve her own ego or pursuits, but to support and lift up others.
Sara’s compassion for those affected by blood clots is unparalleled – she genuinely cares about the people who follow her blog, online support group, and social media channels. As a widely known influencer in the clotting community, she embraces and shares the stories of many others, but rarely makes her work about herself. It’s important to know that Sara suffered a near fatal pulmonary embolism or blood clot in her lung when she was just 29 years old, and she spent a traumatic 10 days in the intensive care unit as the clot in her lung threatened to end her life.
Thankfully, Sara survived and emerged from this experience a strong and resilient health advocate and today her BCRN blog is a leading source for information and guidance related to the lifestyle and recovery issues that people encounter after they experience a blood clot. BCRN is the only online resource dedicated solely to helping people navigate these frequently complex issues.
From the earliest days of the Rowan Foundation’s efforts, Sara has been supportive and shared all of our resources with her BCRN community of more than 80,000 people who follow her blog and 7,000 who are part of her online support group. She has partnered with us to expand the reach of special projects during Women’s Health Month each year, and in 2022 teamed up with us to share our combined resources in recognition of World Thrombosis Day.
While Sara is a consummate professional, she is also a friend to many in the clotting community. The Rowan Foundation is fortunate to have her passionate support of our mission, but we are equally honored to call her a friend. Sara supports our mission-driven efforts with unmatched enthusiasm – she is one of our most vocal champions – and she offers a safe and supportive place for people who do experience blood clots to land. For that, we are tremendously thankful for our long-standing relationship with her and for the knowledge that Sara will be there to support our Foundation and the clotting community for many years to come.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a blood clot or clotting disorder, we encourage you to tap into the resources shared by the Blood Clot Recovery Network, join the Facebook Group, or follow on Instagram.
Maricatherine Carson Mullaney
The Rowan Foundation is thankful for its connection with Maricatherine Carson Mullaney, who, as a blood clot survivor, is fiercely committed to helping increase awareness and sharing important information about blood clots with others.
As Maricatherine recounts, she was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism or blood clot in her lung in 2009. At the time, she had no known risk factors for a blood clot, but her symptoms of dizziness, shortness of breath, and a rapid pulse caused her doctor, thankfully, to order a CT scan. The scan showed, in fact, that she had a life-threatening pulmonary embolism or blood clot in her lung.
From that point forward, with her life spared, Maricatherine saw herself as being called to raise awareness about blood clots.
Today, Maricatherine is a widely recognized advocate in the clotting disorders community, sharing content daily to help expand the reach of important educational messages about blood clots. She donates not only her time promoting important outreach initiatives throughout the clotting community, but she also donates her treasure to help advance the education and awareness efforts of the advocacy organizations she supports.
Above all else, the Rowan Foundation is grateful for its connection to Maricatherine because of her genuine kindness. For years, we have known her to be among the most consistently supportive and kind individuals we have had the pleasure to connect with on social media. Kindness matters, especially when life experiences are challenging, tasks are tough, or frustrations run high. Whether we’re having a good or bad day, Maricatherine makes all of our days better with her loyal support and kindness. We are grateful for Maricatherine’s role in the clotting community, and for our own connection with her.
Last month, February 2023, the Rowan Foundation was honored to learn that Gordon McPherson, the World Thrombosis Day (WTD) 2022 Ambassador of the Year, had selected the Rowan Foundation to be the beneficiary of a $3,000 award granted to him – as an award of the WTD campaign funded by the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH) – to contribute to a thrombosis charity of his choice.
We extend our gratitude to Gordon for his support of our mission and for this generous contribution, which will help us expand our inventory of educational materials focused on women’s health and venous thromboembolism (VTE).
The Rowan Foundation admires the important role Gordon plays within the VTE community, and the way in which he has been a community champion for 20 years, since his family lost their daughter Katie to a blood clot. We also are thankful for the tremendous medical and scientific expertise of ISTH, and for their generosity in funding this award.