Monday, May 18, 2015

Always a winner

Always a winner with Strike Out Stroke™

By Monica Vest Wheeler
Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp Volunteer Staff

Rain may have chased away some people, but when it's Strike Out Stroke™ night in Peoria, IL, hometown to Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp™, nothing keeps away our devoted stroke survivors, caregivers and volunteers who are determined to Strike Out Stroke™ in more ways than one.

The start of the game was delayed two hours by pesky rain clouds as I waited to take photos of our "Dream Team" of survivors take the field. The arrival of our fifth grade poster winner, Jonah Boston, in the Lifeflight helicopter was cancelled for safety reasons. So he had to enter the gates like the rest of us, but he did have that lucky pass to the mound to throw out the first pitch.

Our Chime Strokers were also supposed to be on the field to perform the national anthem, but instead had to settle for a dry spot under the awning along the first base line. Safety again was the primary concern as trying to maneuver wheelchairs and walkers would have been a worry in the wet and muddy grass on the field. However, they stirred our hearts and patriotism under the incredible voice of Monica Mugavero and directors Susan Bock and Lauren Kramer. I certainly had goosebumps from my vantage point on the field, and it wasn't from the cool evening breeze!

What will stay with me from that evening will be the images of love and friendship and laughter that our local survivors and caregivers share. Smiles were evident everywhere … because dreams, like the creation of Strike Out Stroke™ can come true … not only for a fun time at the ballgame but for the far-reaching impact of teaching the public the warning signs of stroke. 

And when I see a stroke survivor put their hand over their heart for the national anthem, how can I not love and applaud and embrace them even more? Yes, Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp is the ultimate team of winners when partnered with Strike Out Stroke …

May good weather and open hearts greet everyone for what will be an amazing season of Strike Out Stroke™ all over this wonderful country! Stay tuned!

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