Run LA with Kathy

A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step – Lao Tzu
…take the first step of your thousand mile journey with me at the Los Angeles Marathon. #RunLAwithKathy

On March 8, 2015, I suffered a severe bleed from a ruptured brain aneurysm. A long and difficult recovery followed. I vividly remember the first day I was able to walk comfortably (no pain or headaches), and said to myself “you’re going to RUN again by year end!”

Well, that goal was met ahead of schedule. Less than six months after my illness, I began running again. One milestone along the way was my first “official” mile walk for the 5th Annual 5K/Walk for BAF (Brain Aneurysm Foundation) held here in Newark, DE in April. Since then, my husband Robby has been encouraging to share my story to raise awareness.

Kathy and Dog, Travis
Right around the time I was going through brain surgery, thousands were running the LA Marathon. Doctors at Keck took over 10 hours to complete the surgery, so in a sense we were all in our own marathon together. So I thought why not celebrate another year of life by running another one…call it my “comeback” race.

On February 14, 2016, I ran my first LA Marathon to tell my story, raise awareness, fundraise, and thank all the nurses and doctors (especially those from Keck Hospital of USC, 7S ICU) for their extraordinary care!

It was a day I was lucky enough to enjoy what I love to do. Every day is another day I’ve been blessed with, to be with my friends and family, my hubby, my kids, and our furry boy, Travis.
Running has been a passion of mine over the past 5 years. It has given me an avenue to be fit and de-stress. I’ve learned more about myself, and it has also given me a platform to run for those who cannot.

Kathy and Robby

It has not been easy to get back to 100%, but I just keep telling myself that this aneurysm is not going to stop me from doing what I love and enjoy or hold me back in anyway. This is why it is so important for me to run again. I want to let others who have survived a stroke know that life can still go on.

It is also equally important to raise awareness and funds to support the Keck Medicine of USC. My family and I not only have the doctors and nurses of Keck Hospital to thank, but also all those who further the research on the effective diagnosis and treatment of brain aneurysms.

Make your donation to benefit the Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disorders Center using the button below. Be sure to click on the “Memorial or honorarium information” link on page two of the donation form and indicate your gift is in honor of “Kathy Nguyen.”

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Update for 2019 Race


You know you’re passionate about something when you keep coming back every year. That is how I feel about running the Los Angeles Marathon for the fourth year in a row. Three and a half years removed from my brain aneurysm I have more conviction now than ever to challenge myself, bring value to others. To help others who have gone through what I have been, to do the same – to reach their full potential. To live their best life.

I’ve ran many more marathons since; studied to be a certified running coach, continued to share my story, and raise awareness for brain aneurysm research whenever an opportunity is provided. Soon after running LAM2018, I came back to Delaware to a racing event, the “Frankswine Easter Downhill 5K”, where the running community helped further our fundraising efforts with their generous support and donations. That was a truly special event! It reminded me of how generous and kind people are when they believe in something.

Coming back every year to run LA since 2016, is my way of saying “Thank You”. Giving back to those who’ve supported me through my months of recovery, believed in me, encouraged me to go after my dreams, and applaud my victories. Along the way I’ve learned we can’t do this individually, that’s why this fundraiser means so much to me. Because it’s all of us together that makes a difference. The end result is you helping someone’s life better, to live their best life.

I am so humbled and amazed by all the support #RunLAwithKathy has received these past three years. The support you’ve given me for this cause has been heartwarming. We certainly couldn’t have done it without all of you. Thank you for helping to further the Cerebral Vascularization Center for research that has made a difference in my life and to so many others.

Give by Smartphone or Help Me Fundraise

To make a gift on your smartphone, or to help me raise money as a fundraiser, just text the word “Kathy” to the number 71777 and you will be texted back a link to my mobile fundraising page.

One way your donations make a difference

My name is Robert Rennert and I am neurosurgery resident at UC-San Diego who recently had the privilege of rotating as a research fellow with Dr. Jonathan Russin at the USC Center for Neurorestoration. This elective, supported in part by donor funding, significantly increased my exposure to the technical considerations and ongoing innovations in complex cerebrovascular surgery.

In this role, I studied the utility and clinical outcomes of novel revascularization strategies, imaging predictors and pharmacologic treatments of vasospasm, and intra-operative vascular imaging technologies. As a result of Dr. Russin’s unique focus and dedication to cerebrovascular innovation, as well as his streamlined research team including other research fellows, neurosurgical residents, and a professional medical illustrator, I was able to contribute to five first author works and 11 total publications to date during my six-month rotation (with nearly 10 additional manuscripts in review).

Included in this work is the first clinical description of a pharmacologic prevention of cerebral bypass graft spasm, a significant risk factor for post-bypass stroke, as well as the development of a novel non-invasive MRI-based predictor of vasospasm following aneurysmal sub-arachnoid hemorrhage. The publication of these ideas, which are developed and implemented routinely at the USC Center for Neurorestoration, is critical to facilitate their spread to the larger neurosurgical community and improve the care of neurosurgical patients worldwide.

On a personal level, the importance of Dr. Russin’s and the USC Center for Neurorestoration’s work was reinforced for me during my recent participation in the LA Marathon fundraising event. At the post-race reception, former patients like Kathy Nguyen and their families come to celebrate not only completing the marathon, but quite literally their lives. Hearing their stories and the appreciation of their loved ones for the care they received at USC, as well as seeing their deep bond with Dr. Russin, was an unforgettable experience and a reminder of the lasting impact he has had on their lives.

My experience at the USC Center for Neurorestoration with Dr. Russin has significantly shaped my career trajectory, and I am extremely grateful to those who support the Center’s mission of improving outcomes in patients with complex cerebrovascular disease. Looking ahead, I not only hope to regularly participate in future fundraising marathons, but also return as a post-graduate fellow to continue my surgical training with Dr. Russin.

Make your donation to benefit the Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disorders Center using the button below. Be sure to click on the “Memorial or honorarium information” link on page two of the donation form and indicate your gift is in honor of “Kathy Nguyen.”

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Keck Medicine of USC is part of the University of Southern California and uses USC’s Federal Tax ID Number: 95-1642394. For Questions about your gift please contact Golnaz Suzuki at (734) 516-1300 or by email at