Tedy’s Team-Why We Run

I was recently asked by a member of Tedy’s Team from the American Stroke Association to share my story with other team members. I am posting my reply to this request because I want to remind everyone why my stroke blog exists today as well as why it is so important that we all make the time to “Give a Little Bit” of ourselves, our energy, our resources, and our voices. Here’s my reply:

Thank you for your offer to share my story. I wanted to let you know that each time our group meets I get a chance to introduce myself to another member of Tedy’s Team and am inspired by their stories. Although this is only my second year involved with Tedy’s Team, I believe what you are doing to try to create a forum or real voice for stroke support is fantastic. I hope other members will be willing to share their “why” to help build on the knowledge of why we all meet and run together each year to raise funds for this important cause.

I had a stroke at age 39. I had no known risk factors, and other than dealing with unexplained migraine headaches, I was in good health. My stroke was caused by a PFO- a hole in my heart that was a hidden birth defect until it caused a clot to go to my brain. Just like Tedy Bruschi, I was not aware of this defect until it caused my stroke. I know I am blessed to be on my way to a full recovery and it continues to be my goal to help educate others who may also unknowingly be at risk. To learn more about how a PFO caused my stroke please read my story at: http://www.my-physical-therapy-coach.com/patent-foramen-ovale.html

Last year I completed my 1st Falmouth Road Race with Tedy’s Team as a sign to my real stroke hero,my wife Lisa, that “I am back” and I could not have survived without her unconditional love and support. I also wanted to show my children that daddy does indeed “feel better”! Finally, I also felt it was important to run as a gesture of thanks for the exceptional care I received at Mass. General Hospital and in support of “our quarterbacks” for the mission of Tedy’s Team, Tedy and Heidi Bruschi.

This year, I plan to run Falmouth in honor and support of all the stroke survivors that have contacted me through my website and by phone. I am running for Ray, Melissa, Jen, Regina, Sandy, Jeff, Vicky, Will and especially to the parents of a boy in RI who I recently learned lost their young son after he suffered a massive stroke from a previously undiagnosed PFO. Also for the other survivors I did not mention by name who contacted me by phone looking for answers or just to find the voice of someone who does know-stroke and is willing to give a little bit and share insight behind a diagnosis. Their stories are all too similar to mine, and I know now that my heart has been repaired I have a new determination to keep educating others. Just a short time ago, I walked in their shoes and had no one my age to speak to that had survived a stroke from this cause. Please read these stroke survivors stories or add your own here at my blog know-stroke.org

The completion of the road race this year also will reaffirm my long term goal to expand the educational campaign I refer to as Know-Stroke or as some of my friends are also referring to it as the “Countdown to Oprah” challenge to gain national awareness and raise more funds for stroke education and prevention. (If you read my full story at the link above you’ll learn
more about my “Oprah moment” and you’ll understand why I keep my story out there and why perhaps Zack probably still thinks I am crazy…) Anyway, my heart is decided on this challenge. It has been just over 1 year since my heart surgery, and I have been migraine free with a clear head for exactly that same time period.

As it turns out during my stroke season, I found out many physicians also need more training and awareness to screen for stroke, especially where it relates to this possible heart/brain/migraine connection. It is my goal to help raise awareness for stroke by advocating for research to develop a better understanding of this connection between the heart and brain and better education and awareness for screening tools for physicians,
coaches,and parents.

To that end, I have teamed up with Tedy’s Team and the Boston and Rhode Island affiliates of the American Heart/Stroke Associations to help raise awareness. There is a great need for better education and research because as you may already know this heart defect can be potentially devastating, especially for young stroke and migraine survivors that often get misdiagnosed or ignored due to age. This is why I run.

Thank you for your help and for allowing me a chance to share my story.

Best Regards,
David Dansereau
Stroke Survivor

If you would like to speak to me personally about donations, fundraising ideas, or ways you could help raise awareness in your own neighborhood please contact me directly at (401)632-0868 or donate here

ps-to my fellow Tedy’s Team members, please feel free to be the 1st to share your own story on my blog at the Tedy’s Team link


Perhaps we should be asking physicians to “GIVE ME FIVE” more minutes

In my last post I discussed how to recognize a stroke and the controversy surrounding which method or reminders are the best tools to use to educate the public on stroke awareness.


I also set aside some time last month in my business ezine, Health-E-News to remind my subscribers about just how much more still needs to be done in this area of stroke education. I mentioned in this issue that many stroke patients still aren’t immediately diagnosed or may not receive the most appropriate treatment and therapies and too often they are left with the debilitating effects of a stroke. Here’s the issue if you aren’t on my email list


Shortly after making these comments I picked up my May issue of Heart Insight and read the cover story of TV personality Mark McEwen and how his stroke was initially misdiagnosed as the flu. J Gelles also commented on my blog today about Mark’s story, so in case you missed the comments I’ve copied them to the end of this post for more information. These events made me reflect on my own stroke story and how physicians also had trouble recognizing my stroke symptoms.

So, my point in this post is “Yes” – I agree stroke warning signs are missing from “FAST” and a person may only experience one symptom (ie)sudden headaches, as I experienced. “Yes”-it is important that all symptoms be remembered and acted upon quickly. The big idea here is to also get physicians to take the time to know-stroke as well. Even if the public is taught to “ACT FAST”, physicians are also sometimes trained to act too FAST to try to push patients through the system and may miss a stroke. Perhaps patients should be asking physicians to “Give Me Five” more minutes to listen to me and understand my symptoms.

Either way, both the ASA and the NSA agreed Mark McEwen’s story was well worth their attention. If you’d like to learn more on Mark McEwen’s story here’s where to find it:

Stroke Smart Magazine from the Nat’l Stroke Association


Heart Insight Magazine from the American Heart Association


(At last check the May issue was not online yet)

Bottom Line: Learn about Stroke all year long-not just in May

J Gelles Says:
June 4, 2008 at 6:36 pm

Legendary TV Personality Mark McEwen has a new book out on life after stroke. In November 2005, Mark suffered a minor stroke while visiting relatives in Baltimore. The hospital misdiagnosed it as the flu and discharged him. A few days later, on a flight back to his home in Orlando, McEwen suffered a massive stroke during the plane’s descent. It almost killed him, and it might have been prevented.

McEwen, a talented and witty public speaker, suddenly found himself stuck in a hospital, unable to talk, swallow, or move half his body. In his new book, CHANGE IN THE WEATHER: Life After Stroke, McEwen’s writes candidly everything that happened next, in an intimate chronicle of inspiring perseverance.

Today, over two years later, McEwen has returned to much of his normal life—walking, talking, driving, and even going back on TV. With CHANGE IN THE WEATHER, McEwen has decided to share his story because “I want stroke survivors to know that they’re not alone. There is indeed life after stroke, and even in the most extreme cases, patients can expect to recover pieces of their old lives and graft them onto whatever new experiences lay in wait.”

In addition to discussing what we need to know about stroke and its warning signs, he can discuss his illustrious career and how stroke humbled him.

For more information on the book visit: http://www.markmcewen.com/

Thanks also to Stephanie Trelogan for her comments to my last post and for giving my blog recognition. If you missed it:

Stephanie Trelogan Says:
May 12, 2008 at 4:19 pm

Great post, David. I think your blog is a fantastic resource, and in honor of Stroke Awareness Month, I’ve thrown a little link love your way:


Stephanie Trelogan
Senior Editor, Caring.com
Heart Disease, Stroke, and Depression