October 10, 2007
The Honorable Sheldon Whitehouse
United States Senate
502 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senator Whitehouse:
As a stroke survivor and volunteer for the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, I would like to thank you for cosponsoring the Stroke Treatment and Ongoing Prevention (STOP Stroke) Act (S. 999). In addition to being our nation’s number three killer, stroke is also the number three killer in the Ocean State, claiming more than 500 Rhode Island lives every year. A leading cause of long-term disability, stroke can have devastating effects on survivors, their caregivers and families. While the STOP Stroke Act is a relatively modest legislative proposal, if enacted it is certain to save countless lives and prevent untold suffering.
I am a stroke survivor and suffered with migraines for years prior to my stroke. It was only after I had a stroke in the fall of last year at the age of 39 that doctors looked at my heart and found I had a PFO. I am a health educator in private practice (nutritionist and physical therapist) and although I educate my clients about the warning signs for heart disease and stroke all the time- I had no idea this defect could #1) lead to a stroke #2) be so devastating physically, financially and emotionally.
As I discovered during my journey, I found out many physicians also lack the necessary training and awareness to screen for stroke and implement effective treatment recommendations, especially in the case of a young stroke survivor. I also experienced a lack of communication between physicians and conflicting views on how to implement an effective treatment plan for me after my stroke. I wanted to share my story with you and emphasize the importance of your continued support of the STOP Stroke Act. (If you would like to learn more about my story it is available online: http://www.my-physical-therapy-coach.com/patent-foramen-ovale.html).
Support for the STOP Stroke Act continues to build; however, our work is not over. Although the legislation has strong bipartisan support – as evidenced by the fact that it was passed by the House earlier this year by voice vote and passed in the Senate in 2002 – we need your additional help to get it passed by the Senate in the 110th Congress. We ask that you contact the leaders of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee to urge that they consider and approve the STOP Stroke Act as soon as possible.
Again, let me express my deep gratitude for your support of the STOP Stroke Act and for any assistance you may provide to ensure that it moves quickly out of committee and to the floor for a vote.
David P. Dansereau, MS, PT, RD