Sunday, December 18, 2016


We have grown so much in the past years that we have decided to establish ourselves as a national organization called United Stroke Alliance. Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp, Strike Out Stroke, and our Elementary Education Program, will all be a part of that. 

The official announcement was made in our Winter News Letter that just came out and I have included it below for those of you who do not get our quarterly letters. Our letters have been in paper form but starting with the Spring 2017 edition we will go digital, and I will try to include them or a link to them from this blog. That way, if you're not on our mailing list (which is nearly 3,000 addresses) you will be able to see them, too. 
Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp has blossomed into a New National Non-Profit, and we are excited to unveil this fresh new organization for you with an expanded mission and strategy for the future. 

It all began humbly 13 years ago, in Peoria, IL with a small group of volunteers focused on the basic goal of providing stroke survivors and caregivers a “refreshing” weekend break from the grind of recovering from and living with stroke. The success of this initial altruistic venture has grown to TWENTY-EIGHT camps in NINETEEN STATES in 2016! 

Simultaneously, Retreat & Refresh launched the largest Grass Roots Stroke Symptom Awareness Campaign in the Nation with Strike Out Stroke (SOS) which has introduced tens of MILLIONS of people to the FAST (Face, Arms, Speech, Time) message over the last four years! 

But, there is more….The final program advanced for their progressive stroke awareness agenda is the Elementary Education Program focused on teaching 10-12 year old children about stroke symptoms and prevention which the students can share with their extended family and friends. Thousands of children have successfully participated in this results-oriented pilot, and now the program is ready to be launched nationally. 

Retreat & Refresh had grown exponentially beyond anyone’s imagination from its humble beginnings. Marylee Nunley and Larry Schaer knew that the organization needed strategic guidance and external management experience. In February of this year they launched an independent, fiduciary National Board of Directors. 

At their first meeting, the National Board quickly realized that the organization’s incredible growth and diverse programing needed an umbrella organization, branded so it could be recognized for the national stroke powerhouse it had become. Thus, United Stroke Alliance was formed. 

The expanded vision pillars upon which United Stroke Alliance stands are summarized by the simple acronym, PAR

Prevention and Preparation: Diet, exercise, nutrition, estate and health planning 

Awareness: Education, recognition, and action 

Recovery and Rehabilitation: Stroke Camps and support of sponsoring therapeutic organizations 

Obviously, we will not do this all at once! This vison will be implemented over time as sponsorships, donations, and partnerships are created to execute the strategy. 

With concerted effort, United Stroke Alliance will soon be recognized nationally as one of the leaders of stroke prevention, symptom awareness, and recovery and support for those affected by stroke. To drive this forward, the Board recommended a realignment of responsibilities and title to lead this new organization. 

Marylee Nunley was named Chairperson of the Board of Directors and will be the Chair for all strategic board related meetings and activities. Operationally, Marylee continues leading where her heart is and always will be as the Director of Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp.

Larry Schaer has been named President and CEO of United Stroke Alliance. Larry’s role will entail providing strategic direction and execution of the vision of the organization. A critical success factor for this vison will be finding the sponsorships and fundraising dollars to support growth, while creating corporate partnerships to collaborate with United Stroke Alliance’s programing deliverables. Larry has been the engine behind the entrepreneurial expansion of Retreat & Refresh and SOS for years so these new responsibilities naturally fall in his executive wheelhouse. 

Our new website will be unveiled in the very near future! 

Our new United Stroke ALLIANCE includes you! YOU are part of The Plan. We need you to volunteer, to attend camp, and  help drive our vison forward with your ideas. Very importantly, we need your financial support. 

Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp and Strike Out Stroke have accomplished miracles with limited resources. In launching United Stroke Alliance, we are taking our rightful place on the national stage, and we need your donations to take us there. Please join us by making a meaningful year-end gift enabling United Stroke Alliance to fulfill our mission as leaders of stroke prevention, symptom awareness, and recovery and support

You can do so by clicking here:, and click the DONATE button.


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