Honoring a Life By Helping Others

Published in Greater Washington Area - Spring/Summer 2022

When Woodbridge, Virginia, resident Luis Alberto "Beto" Araneda passed away in 2021 after a lengthy battle with cancer, his family and friends were determined to honor his life by making a difference in the lives of others. In response, they established the Alberto Araneda Memorial Fund for Interventional Radiology at Suburban Hospital.

Beto's loved ones credit Johns Hopkins Medicine interventional radiologist Andrew Akman, M.D., and his team with extending Beto's life by five very active years through a minimally-invasive procedure that ablates, or destroys, abnormal tissue while protecting the surrounding normal tissues.

Family friend Catherine Hagle recalls: "Even in the darkest hours of the Araneda family's grieving, the thought of doing something for Dr. Akman's team gave them strength and comfort. It was a commitment they wanted to share with others who are walking their same path."

Hagle coordinated and led the fundraising campaign on the family's behalf, raising more than $33,000 from funds that poured in from family and friends following Beto's funeral. In spring 2022, a donation from Olga Brown, a close family friend of the Aranedas, helped the fund meet its $100,000 goal.

With the fundraising goal met, it was time to put the funds to good use. The family asked Dr. Akman what was needed to help improve the lives of patients. At the top of his list was an intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) digital imaging and physiology system. This system provides live ultrasound images of the inside of arteries and veins and is used in treatment of patients with vascular disease.

"IVUS has become the standard of care for many complex venous and arterial procedures as it allows accurate measurements of the vessels and a real-time look at pathologic processes," explains Dr. Akman.

The IVUS system uses a dedicated catheter and ultrasound-based technology to produce cross-sectional images with a 360-degree view from inside the blood vessel, and allows Dr. Akman and his team to visualize and tailor treatment for each patient. "Having an appropriate size stent is important for a patient with a blocked vein that you're reopening by placing a metal stent. In addition to being painful, an oversized stent may damage the surrounding vessel and not last as long."

Dr. Akman, who had the privilege of giving a eulogy at Beto's funeral, says about his patient turned-friend:
"The first words that come to mind when I think about Beto are 'unrelenting positivity.' He was, quite simply, one of the most glass half-full people I have ever met. The Alberto Araneda Memorial Fund is a testament to the kind of person Beto was."

If you would like to honor a caregiver or loved one, please contact the Suburban Hospital Foundation office at 301-896-3971 for more information.