Sunday, March 28, 2021

A Message from the United Stroke Alliance CEO


A message from Larry, the CEO of United Stroke Alliance, a national organization and parent organization of Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp (RRSC), Stroke-Out-Stroke(SOS), and Youth Education on Stroke (YES).  
In the last newsletter, I described the story of one person creating a wave of positive change for thousands of people when Marylee created and implemented the concept of a weekend retreat for stroke survivors, caregivers and their families. After her husband, John, had his stroke in 2001, Marylee searched for resources that could help her navigate the potentially long road to stroke recovery for her and John. After exploring and talking with many people, she thought a weekend retreat would be a great opportunity to meet and support other stroke survivors and caregivers. The first stroke camp was held in 2004. At the end of 2019, 265 stroke camps were coordinated in 25 states. In addition to the stroke camps, stroke awareness programs evolved such as Strike Out Stroke (tm), Youth Education on Stroke (tm), Stronger Than a Stroke (tm), and a video series called, You’ve Had a Stroke, Now What (tm)?

In 2004, she had no idea her initial idea and effort would connect thousands of stroke survivors and their families as well as educate millions of people on the signs of stroke. Most of us would agree that one person creating a national impact is quite unusual and unique….…….or is it?

Sometimes we have specific intent as we connect with people. In these connection we want to express our feelings, good or bad, and other times we have a desire to share ideas or beliefs. However, in some situations we have no idea of the impact. For example, imagine the difference it could make when giving a homeless person a ten-dollar bill, or sharing a kind word with a colleague or just making pleasant conversation with a stranger. Most of the time we do not give these gestures a second thought. Consider the outcome when the homeless person shares a portion of the ten-dollar bill with someone or shares a kind word with another. Suddenly, a single positive gesture becomes two and those two become four. All of us have the capacity to change the world with kindness, respect, and generosity. Now, more than ever we need each person doing their best, in their own way, to change the world.

Some would say, the mountain is too high to climb, but remember the story of small town woman changing the world with one idea. Imagine the world if everyone had their own story.

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