Soapbox Talkers

Beth Lost

Featured Talker

Beth Losk

Beth is a retired long time special educator.  She lives with her beloved husband, Rick, and two cats outside Boston.  Beth experienced a ruptured brain aneurysm on Marathon Monday 2016 and has found the journey of recovery to be the most profound of her life. Every day brings some new awareness or insight, and she is proud to be a survivor and to support others on their paths. Beth loves landscape photography, reading, writing, scrapbooking and being on the beach.

Featured Artist

Jennifer Vallina

Jennifer Vallina of One Sock On Photography is an experienced artist specializing in on-location headshots, family portraits and special event photography.  She has an eye not only for detail, but for capturing the unique, often overlooked moments that create memories. Jennifer values discretion and connects easily with clients. Finding joy in intricate patterns and the mesmerizing detail of everyday objects, her work brings a consciousness to the invisible and highlights the amazing landscape that surrounds us.

Jennifer was named “best for outdoor family photography in DC” and is the proud owner of a brainstem AVM that was treated by CyberKnife in the summer of 2018. Her art is available for purchase and she is willing to travel.


The writers of TAAF Talk are made up of our contributors,The Aneurysm and AVM Foundation (TAAF) community, and friends. We are always interested in hearing the stories of those impacted by aneurysms and AVM. New articles are posted monthly. If you are interested in contributing to TAAF Talk, please contact us on our Chat Back Page.

Click the photos to read our talkers stories. 

Riddle Bio

Tom Tyrrell

Tom Tyrrell a.k.a Ridlaa is an artist, rapper and beat maker based in Birmingham (UK) drawing inspiration from his struggles, managing an AVM in the brain over the last 12 years. He tells stories using creative writing and visuals. His tracks are extracts from his life, employing metaphors and self-deprecating satire to aid his artistic vision and expression. He produces, directs and edits his own music videos and short films, collaborating with other artists. His work boasts innovation, creativity and vivid storytelling.

Dr Walsh Resize

Daniel Walsh

Daniel Walsh qualified as a doctor from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 1993. His basic surgical training took place in Dublin and London and his Neurosurgical training was undertaken in Glasgow. He completed specialist Fellowship training in Neurovascular Surgery working with Professor Michael Morgan in Sydney, Australia, one of the world’s leaders in surgery for brain AVM. His practice encompasses cerebral aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations of the brain and spinal cord, cavernoma, cerebral revascularisation, Moyamoya disease, brain haemorrhage and general neurosurgery including tumours of the brain and spine. Neurovascular referrals are received from around the United Kingdom and internationally. Click here to read a complete biography on Dr. Walsh.

Vanessa Bio

Vanessa Garza

Vanessa is a Boston-based aspiring writer, mother of two children, former corporate America consultant, and survivor of four elective brain surgeries to remove the asymptomatic AVM in her right temporal lobe. Thanks to the determined medical team who treated her and the incredible support she received before, during, and after her trauma, she hopes to raise awareness for this very rare neurological disease.  She believes she survived this journey in part to pay it forward by honoring and supporting all AVM warriors, their caregivers, and their medical teams, in any way she can.


Nisha Ramsinghani

Nisha Ramsinghani is a psychiatrist who specializes in children, adolescents, and adults.  She lives in Orange County, California with her husband, daughter, and son.  Nisha endured a hemorrhagic stroke in 2016 while 31 weeks pregnant with her son which was later found to be an AVM.  She enjoys spontaneous high-tea parties, dancing in the family room with her husband and kids, watching basketball, listening to music, and working out. She believes her stroke was the most pivotal moment in her life that has helped shape her be the person she is today.


Ninibeth Ramirez Delfaus

Ninibeth lives in Puerto Rico with her mother and two dogs Morocho and Popcorn. Known for her friendly, giving spirit, Ninibeth is a favorite helper within the AVM community.

James Circle

James Larken Smith

James Larken Smith is an AVM-Stroke-Aneurysm survivor that lives in Sugar Land, Texas. He is a lifelong musician, freelance baseball writer, and former radio host of ‘The Morning Coffee Mix’. Previous to his AVM he was a Senior Research Technician specializing in paint and coatings research and testing at ExxonMobil Chemical, where he received numerous awards for his work on environmental coatings and safety culture leadership. He is married to his wife Lisa, with two children and two step-daughter’s, and one beautiful granddaughter Andi.

Goodman Circle

Shawn Goodman

Shawn is a 26 year old early childhood development specialist and counselor, who’s passion for music has transformed his life. He lives with his Aunt, in Duncanville, Texas, working his way through extended recovery from a double aneurysm he experienced in 2019. He finds solace in listening, singing, and making his own music. His music will transport you through various generational styles of Soul and R&B. You can find his work by going to:


Stacey Gil

Stacey is now a stay at home 42 year old mom of two young boys,  Michael, 14, and Andrew, 11. She lives with her boys and boyfriend of seven years in Monroe Township, New Jersey. She enjoys the outdoors and spending time with her family and friends.


Taylor Gilkey Laird

Taylor is a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a wife and a friend.  She is an AVM survivor.  She is a lover of life and believes we all were thrown into this wild world to make a difference, whether it be big or small.  She believes adversity creates character and we are all tougher than we realize.  She  is a work in progress and in the last two years has been amazed at how the body can heal.  Her happy place is the Central Coast with her husband and two pups.  She is proud of how far she has come and is excited to see how she will continue to go.  She is  a handbag designer by trade and is excited to get back in the saddle doing what she truly loves.

Click the photo above to learn more about Dr. Langer and the heroes of Netflix’s Lenox Hill.

To see the trailer for the Netflix Series, Lenox Hill, click here


Dawn Mureddu

Dawn Mureddu is 59 years old and lives in Johnston, RI with her husband, Chuck.  They have one son and 4 wonderful grandchildren.  Dawn has always worked in the banking and mortgage banking industry in various capacities. She loves family time, working out to stay fit both physically and mentally, and enjoys being outside.  Her goal is to be remembered as a caring person, always staying positive and with a smile.


Elaine Schaller

Elaine Schaller lost her 33-year-old daughter Cindy Sherwin to a ruptured brain aneurysm in 2007. The shock of her death left Schaller certain she would never again experience a happy moment. Writing daily letters to her daughter would provide an opportunity to give voice to her grief and ultimately became the basis for her book: Dear Cindy, Love Mom: Letters of Love, Loss and Grief. All proceeds of the book go toward the Brain Aneurysm Foundation which raises money and awareness for research grants for the early detection and prevention of the disease.

Jay Dolia, MD.

Dr. Dolia is a Clinical Instructor of Neurology in the Department of Neurology at the University of Pittsburgh and a Neuroendovascular Surgery Fellow.  In addition, Dr. Dolia shares a passion for nonprofit work, is the member of several groups and associations, and leads both Young NIR as well as SVIN’s Covid-19 outreach program, NeuroHeroes.


Angela Ramirez Holmes

Angela Ramirez Holmes started her advocacy in rare diseases in 2013 when her then 8 year old son Andrew was diagnosed with a rare brain condition, an arteriovenous malformation or AVM. Angela is the Founder and President of Cal Rare, a non-profit coalition of rare disease stakeholders dedicated to improving the lives of rare disease patients in California.  She lives with her son and husband in the Eastern San Francisco Bay Area.

Nicole Circle

Nicole Perra

Nicole Perra is currently staying with her fiancé and two cats in Rochester New Hampshire. She went to school for Speech Therapy and work as a Speech Therapist in a school. She loves running and has ran many half marathons and will hopefully run her first marathon in 2021. Also, she is getting married in April of 2021!

George Circle

George Valdez

George is a 27 year old construction inspector from Long Beach, California. He enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, going to the beach with friends. and attending concerts. He found out he had both an AVM and aneurysm in his brain after suffering an AVM hemorrhage in September of 2019.

Michele Cozadd bio pic.1

Michele Cozadd

Michele is a married, crazy cat lady, who survived a ruptured brain aneurysm. I  left my career in Supply Chain IT to focus on using my voice to advocate for aneurysm awareness and education. She believes that she was saved for something greater than herself. She loves being creative! She is using that creativity to write a blog to document her own recovery for other survivors.

Lisa Circle

Lisa Hannegan

MS, NP, Co-President of TAAF and TAAF Talk Science Consultant

Lisa was both a Supervisor and Clinical Nurse Specialist within the Dept. of Neurological Surgery at University of California San Francisco as well as an Assistant Clinical Professor at UCSF School of Nursing until her retirement in June 2017. In her nearly 40-year nursing career at UCSF, she worked directly with over 5,000 patients with aneurysms or vascular malformations and brings her considerable expertise to TAAF. For more information about Lisa, Click here for the Masthead

Leslye Wilson pic

Leslye Wilson

As a self-proclaimed silent introvert, Leslye Wilson found her voice through poetry. After surviving a cerebral arteriovenous malformation (AVM) in September of 2008, Leslye continues to use poetry as her voice with the hope of educating people on AVMs and disabilities, along with uplifting and empowering survivors. Her works have been featured in several blogs, newsletters and anthologies, including “The View from Here: Poetry to Help You Soar!” and “In Transit: Poetry of People on the Move” under her pen name, Lita Verella. In addition to writing, Leslye enjoys drawing, traveling, hiking, mild rock climbing, yoga and meditation.

DTB and Fam

Deb Toy Benzel

On the last day of a family vacation in the Adirondack Mountains 10 years ago, Deb survived an AVM rupture that turned her into the Wonder Woman she is today, not perfect nor Mother Teresa, but wonderful all the same.


Beautiful Nameone

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, ei vidit habeo dolorem has. Eius atqui salutandi eum cu, eos inciderint concludaturque at, quot nominati mediocritatem pri ea. Habeo sanctus at mel, sea an purto omittam suscipit.


Beautiful Nameone

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, ei vidit habeo dolorem has. Eius atqui salutandi eum cu, eos inciderint concludaturque at, quot nominati mediocritatem pri ea. Habeo sanctus at mel, sea an purto omittam suscipit.

Dina Chon

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, ei vidit habeo dolorem has. Eius atqui salutandi eum cu, eos inciderint concludaturque at, quot nominati mediocritatem pri ea. Habeo sanctus at mel, sea an purto omittam suscipit.

Laura Sprouse Winans headshot

Laura Sprouse Winans

Laura Sprouse Winans was the sole caregiver for her mom, Hattie.  Hattie suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm in 2015 and passed away this year. Her mom was always what kept her happy. She didn’t look at it as work when taking care of her; Laura looked at it as making memories while enjoying life.

A special thank you from the bottom of my heart goes out to Mrs. Dina Chon for always being there for me when I needed to vent, for allowing me to talk to you on the phone, and for always checking on mom and I. Thank you for all your help.
Charles K. for bio

Charles K

Charles K is a 3rd generation San Francisco native and resides in the Bay Area.  He spends his free time with his beloved Shiba Inu.

Dina Chon

TAAF Community Engagement Manager

Part of the TAAF Talk Team; to learn more about Dina, Click here for the Masthead.


The Aneurysm and AVM Foundation does not provide medical advice and does not recommend, endorse or make any representation about the efficacy, appropriateness or suitability of any specific tests, products, procedures, treatments, services, opinions, health care providers or other information that may be contained on or available through this website.



TAAF’s website contains information that is intended to educate patients and their caregivers about aneurysm and AVM. Articles on this website have been written and reviewed by qualified medical professionals and are periodically updated.

The medical information on this website is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is crucial that care and treatment decisions related to vascular malformations of the brain and any other medical condition be made in consultation with a doctor or other qualified medical professional.


TAAF uses social media to share topics that may be of interest to aneurysm and AVM patients and caregivers. Articles that TAAF re-posts from other websites are not vetted by a medical professional associated with TAAF. TAAF staff uses its discretion to choose topics that may be of interest to members of our community.