Al
Al

Al had two strokes back in 2004, but they didn’t affect him that much. He was able to regain pretty much all function in about a month. What really limited him was a motor vehicle accident in September 2013. He could barely move his left side after that. One of the nurses at rehab told him about ASF. At the time, he didn’t pay much attention because he just assumed that rehab would take care of everything. But then the rehab visits on his insurance ran out and he still had a lot of things to work on. So he started coming to ASF with his wife, who is his caregiver. Al says, “If you’ve got a family member or caregiver, bring them to ASF. Everyone is very welcoming. At ASF, we care about each other and we look out for each other like a family.”

Al really enjoys ASF and the people who come here. He likes to exercise on the machines and in the room with resistance bands and loves the pool therapy – “I can move in the water so much better than out here on land. I’ve been getting mobility in my arms and legs again.” Al feels the programs at ASF are great. Every day there is something different. He enjoys the brain games and having to think. “I know my recovery is going to take some time, but I’m making progress and I have so much to look forward to.”

Jeri
Jeri

Jeri had her stroke in August of 2013 and went through inpatient and outpatient therapy. After she got home from therapy, she was sitting in front of the TV for eight hours a day. She decided that she needed to get out of the house and searched online for senior programs to get out into the community. Jeri says, “I didn’t find any senior programs, but I somehow found the American Stroke Foundation and I was so excited. I immediately went for a visit and signed up then and there.”

Jeri says she loves the American Stroke Foundation because she is learning so many things that she never knew or thought about before. For example, “I didn’t know that my risk of a stroke is greater now that I’ve had a stroke. ASF helps me keep my risk down through regular exercise, stress management, and other learning activities.” She likes working with the personal trainers at Blue Springs and working on her balance and affected side in pool therapy. Jeri thinks the people at the Stroke Foundation are just wonderful: “We rally around each other and try to help each other.”

ASF has also been instrumental in helping Jeri get a job after her stroke. As she went through vocational rehab, everyone at ASF worked with her to get nice interview clothes, hair and makeup styling, and did interview practice with her. Jeri says, “I just started a new job and it’s going pretty well. I want to keep doing as much as possible and ASF helps me do that. I can’t say enough good things about ASF.”

Dave
Dave

Dave had his stroke on January 9, 2013. His dad called 9-1-1 and at the hospital, he received tPA which worked. He could talk and move fairly normally after that. But half an hour later, he had a second stroke and it was pretty severe. Dave wasn’t able to use his right arm or leg, or talk outside of a handful of words. After being at St. Luke’s for a week, he went to Meadowbrook for rehab and then to Mid-America for outpatient rehab. One of the therapists at Mid-America told him about ASF. At that point, he could talk pretty well and was starting to move his right leg.

At first, Dave wasn’t excited about coming to ASF because he didn’t feel like it had much to offer him. His sister encouraged him to come and gradually, this place grew on him and he started making some friends. Dave says that the most important and helpful parts about ASF are the exercise program and the companionship. Just talking to other stroke survivors has helped him improve his speech. Dave recently moved to a new apartment in part to be closer to ASF. Dave says, “I realized that ASF has a lot to offer me—friendship, exercise, music, and games.”

Bob
Bob

Bob has been attending the American Stroke Foundation out at the Blue Springs site for a little over 2 years. He had a stroke in January 10, 2012, and couldn’t be happier having found this organization along his journey of recovery.

Bob stated, “I love all of the things that we do!” He expressed that his favorite thing to do at the American Stroke Foundation is exercise. Bob participates in the fitness program with the YMCA trainers on staff and attends the pool sessions led by a fellow stroke survivor. Bob feels that he is getting better and stronger while increasing his endurance. “I used to only do 20 minutes. Now I can go for 30 minutes, take a 5 minute break, and do another 30 minutes. Bob feels that the American Stroke Foundation has helped him regain his strength which has allowed him to keep up with his 10 grandchildren. Bob loves to play football, volleyball, and chase after his grandchildren.

Bob shared that he feels like he has a second family here at the American Stroke Foundation and values the friendships that he has made. Although, Bob has difficulty communicating due to his aphasia he has made lasting impressions on those around him at the American Stroke Foundation. Bob stated that he loves the people and he has made several new friends including his closest friend, Glen.

Joyce
Joyce

Joyce has been attending the American Stroke Foundation (ASF) out at the Blue Springs site for a little over a year. She has had two strokes, the most recent one on March 12, 2013.

Joyce loves coming to the American Stroke Foundation for the social interaction she gets to have with the other stroke survivors. She stated, “I don’t like to miss days at ASF because I miss the people.” She is impressed by seeing all the different ways that a stroke has impacted people in the group and how they deal with all of the changes. Joyce also enjoys the exercise that ASF has to offer located within the Blue Springs YMCA. She stated that it has helped her make physical gains in strength and balance which help her when she is out in the community.

Joyce expressed that her talent is communicating with people, and ASF has helped her build confidence in doing that. The number one thing Joyce finds rewarding about the American Stroke Foundation is encouragement. The staff, program, and her peers at ASF have motivated and encouraged her to pursue things she thought she never could since her strokes. Joyce identified MaryAnn, a volunteer, as a very uplifting person. “MaryAnn always tells me you can’t now, but you will.” That gives me hope and motivation to continue to work hard.

Marilyn
Marilyn

Prior to her left-side ischemic stroke in 2005, Marilyn was tough to pin down. She worked as an administrative assistant to a social worker where she scheduled appointments, checked insurance, and handled collections. When she wasn't at work, she could be found tending to the sick, participating in church activities, or enjoying her two children and four grandchildren—often heading to the City Market or the park together. Otherwise, Marilyn could be found cooking in her kitchen, or working on her computer.

In January of 2005, Marilyn was at work when she started feeling “funny”. She had a bad headache, was having difficulty with her speech, and was told by a coworker that one eye looked different from the other. She headed home and, when a friend came to check on her, Marilyn was unable to describe what she was experiencing. That friend called a nurse’s hotline, then 911—and Marilyn was taken to KU Medical Center. They confirmed the stroke that the hotline nurse had suspected.

And life had changed in a big way. Because her speech was affected by the stroke, Marilyn had to learn to talk all over again. She has trouble with numbers, like getting telephone numbers mixed up when writing them down. She also struggles with walking and trips easily.

Marilyn enjoys coming to the American Stoke Foundation and is thankful for the new friends she’s met. She enjoys fitness, socialization and games. And she credits the American Stroke Foundation for her ability to talk and write again. Her future goals include continuing to improve her cognitive functioning and her physical fitness.

Carolyn
Carolyn

Before June of 2005, Carolyn was a busy, independent woman. She’d been married for 29 years, was employed as a manufacturer representative, and had recently celebrated her daughter’s graduation from Kansas State University. Besides keeping the household up and running, she found time to enjoy her friends, dine out, shop, scrapbook, and entertain.

Carolyn was giving a sales presentation on the third of June when she started to feel dizzy. She dropped her day planner and fell when she attempted to pick it up. Although she told her district manager that she felt okay, he knew better when he asked her squeeze both of his hands—and her left hand wouldn’t cooperate. He made sure then that emergency services were called. Carolyn had suffered an ischemic stroke.

And her life has changed. Carolyn walks without a cane but can’t use her left arm. She has a condition known as ‘left neglect’ so she can no longer drive or cook. For these reasons, she states, her stroke has also affected the lives of her husband and daughter, too.

Carolyn participates in the programs of the American Stroke Foundation and she enjoys many things about it—socializing with others, participating in fitness activities, and learning about stroke. She has set some goals for her future: she hopes to improve her movement and walking, and, sometime in the future, she’d love to be able to drive and cook again.

Jerry
Jerry

Before he had an ischemic stroke, Jerry was living a good life—working hard running an appliance delivery company—and playing hard, too. He enjoyed parties and picnics, a couple of drinks and cigarettes every day, and a CB radio hobby. That all changed in November of 2003 when he suffered a heart attack, underwent angioplasty, and then had a stroke.

Jerry is no longer able to drive, and that makes it hard to get where he needs to go. Walking is difficult, too, because balance and strength aren’t what they used to be. And because he has a tendency to choke, eating has become a challenge as well. Jerry has lost 80 pounds since that fateful day in 2003….and he’s stopped smoking.

Since coming to the ASF, Jerry reports that he’s regained much of the strength that his stroke took from him. He’s done that through participation in the fitness program. He is also very fond of the wii, especially the bowling and golf games. He plays pool, too, and has made quite a few friends along the way. He still sees room to improve himself physically, mentally, and socially so he’s set some goals for himself: to continue to gain strength, to improve his balance, to become even better educated about stroke, and to meet new people.

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