8 August 2007
To the editor of The Valley Breeze (Cumberland,RI);
I am not sure where, how, or even if you might be able to use these thoughts but I feel it is important that I share my story to help educate others and raise awareness about stroke. If you could place this in your paper as a PSA, editorial, or perhaps a follow-up story I would greatly appreciate your voice and be open to speaking with you more on this topic. Again, whichever angle you feel would work best I would be very grateful and would be more than willing to cooperate to help raise awareness. In any event, thank you in advance for considering this request.
Here’s my story:
Raise Awareness: Never Give Up
You might remember Tedy Bruschi of the New England Patriots suffered a stroke in February 2005. I recall during this time there were many assumptions and speculation in the media on just what happened to Tedy, but at the time just like many of us I never really understood what could have caused his stroke at such a young age.
In the Fall of 2006 that all changed for me when I had a stroke from the same cause, a hole in my heart that did not close completely at birth. In my case this heart defect went undetected until it caused my stroke at age 39. Now I can say without hesitation I know more about this condition than I ever really wanted to, but the reality is there is still so much more we need to learn. As evidence, in my personal case, it took the best physicians in the state months to finally figure out what had caused my stroke and then more uncertainty followed on what to do to best correct “my defect”. This uncertainty is where I hope to make a difference in raising awareness.
I am fortunate to have joined Tedy’s Team in my own efforts to raise stroke awareness. After his recovery, Tedy and his wife Heidi committed themselves to being advocates for stroke awareness. Tedy’s dedication and return to the NFL served as a great inspiration to me during my own recovery. After just finishing reading his new book Never Give Up (yes, the same title for which I borrowed with good intentions for the title of this article) I realize just how many other stroke survivors also drew inspiration from him.
Whether you are a stroke survivor, cancer survivor, fighting any physical illness or simply are going through some adversity in your own life, this book is a must read. This book was released last Friday and if you were previously unaware of Tedy’s story there are a lot of reasons to look up this book. The other part to the story where you learn what a stroke survivor goes through emotionally was priceless for me. You see, I ended up having the same doctors in Boston repair the hole in my heart in May and I am currently going through virtually the same process Tedy describes in his book, physically and emotionally.
Tedy describes there are two faces of stroke, young and old. I think there is also a third face and it is the face of the real stroke heroes, the person(s) you lean on for support when you are going through this process-the caregivers and love ones who step up and keep you strong. For example, the real stroke hero in my case is my wife, Lisa. I hope now to pass that inspiration on and become a stroke hero by helping others, particularly the young face of stroke, by raising awareness about all stroke risk factors, especially the connection between the heart and brain where much more research and education is necessary.
Through my new partnership with Tedy’s Team and the American Stroke Association, I have dedicated myself to become an effective local advocate, spokesperson and stroke educator and I hope you will do your part by passing this article along too and becoming empowered to learn more. I have chosen to launch my personal awareness campaign and take on this new challenge by joining Tedy’s Team in the Falmouth,MA Road Race on Cape Cod on August 12th. While the race will have over 10,000 runners and features some of the world’s elite runners, my goal is simply to complete the event and regardless of my time, it will mean to me I’ve completed my recovery and it is now time in return and help others.
I thank you for taking the time to read this article. If you would like to learn more about stroke or simply want to see how you can help, I’ve provided a link to my Tedy’s Team / American Stroke Association campaign website through these links:
I’ve also provided the internet link to my ezine article to learn more about how a PFO caused my stroke at:
PS- Do you have other fundraising ideas or ways you’d like to help? Want me to speak to your group about this topic? Please call me (401) 632-0868. I need YOUR help to raise awareness and fight stroke.