Dr. Hua Su

Hua Su, MD, is an Associate Professor and the Associate Director for Basic Science Research at the Center for Cerebrovascular Research, Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care at the University of California, San Francisco.  She was recruited to the Center for Cerebrovascular Research in 2008.  Since then, her research is focused on identifying disease mechanisms and developing new therapies for cerebrovascular diseases.

Dr. Su is an experienced vascular biologist.  Her long-term research interest is to develop therapeutic strategies that can improve outcomes in patients with vascular disease.  How brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM) formed is currently not well understood.  Available therapies all have potentially high treatment-related morbidity.  There is no specific therapy available to treat the patients and to prevent the rupture of the abnormal vessels in the brain AVM.  In recent years, Dr. Su’s team has developed several brain AVM mouse models that have phenotypes mimicking human disease.  She is using these models to study and identify the causes of brain AVM and to test new therapies.

Edgar Tello

Edgar Tello is a 20 year old biology student at New Jersey City University who is currently undergoing treatment for a Spinal AVM.  Edgar was born in Ecuador, but in 2003 his life took a different path during a vacation trip to New York City.  He began experiencing symptoms of what was eventually determined to be his current condition.  This required him to stay in the United States, and forced him to adapt to a new lifestyle away from his family, especially his parents.  He had to stay legally under the custody of his uncle, who had immigrated to the U.S. a decade prior to Edgar’s arrival.  Over the course of the next 11 years, he has been following his treatment including approximately 35 combined embolization and angiogram procedures, while continuing his middle school, high school and college studies.

Edgar was informed about the MRZ Foundation by Dr. John Pile-Spellman, M.D. Edgar and the foundation share similar mindset:  there is a need for better awareness of the uncommon conditions, AVMs and blood clotting diseases.  In spite of the struggle and negativity that comes along with his condition, Edgar’s experiences have helped him set his future goals. He aspires to become a doctor to help people with AVMs, blood clotting diseases, and similar conditions.

Mia Schaikewitz

At age 15, Mia Schaikewitz was a rising star on her high school swim team and training for a new season when suddenly one evening she found herself unable to move her legs. Within 12 hours, doctors discovered that an Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) had ruptured in her spinal cord, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. With resilient determination and a positive attitude, Mia moved forward to pursue her life goals. She finished high school and then attended the University of Florida where she graduated with a degree in Media Production. After college, she moved to Los Angeles where she developed an award-winning career in graphic design and branding.

In 2012, Mia became one of the stars of the show Push Girl son the Sundance Channel which follows the lives of four friends who have overcome spinal cord injuries and live life to the fullest. The show shatters negative stereotypes of disability andinspires audiences worldwide,winning the Critic’s Choice Award for “Best Reality Series” in 2013.

In addition to her career pursuits, Mia is dedicated to raising AVM awareness and is an advocate for diversity inclusion in the workforce and media. She maximizes her time through public speaking, giving back to the community, and participating in multiple adaptive sports. She recently returned to her former sport of competitive swimming and lives by her motto, “Believing in yourself means never having to say ‘I can’t’!”

Please Visit Mia’s site to show her your support!