George Peters' Story

Updated:Nov 2,2012

 George Peters  
When Paul Young felt his face slam into his front lawn early one summer morning, he was sure he had slipped on his way to get the newspaper. But for some reason he couldn’t get up, no matter how hard he tried. He couldn’t speak. And he could barely move his left side.
 
It turned out Paul, 66, didn’t just stumble. He had suffered a massive stroke. During a stroke, part of the brain actually starts to die because it can’t get the blood and oxygen it needs. Paul was in serious danger — he needed medical treatment right away.
 
Luckily, Paul’s struggle didn’t go unseen. Neighbor George Peters was outside checking on his yard and feeding the birds when he saw Paul and darted over to help.

“I was trained as a medic in the Army for six years, so it didn’t take 10 seconds to realize what had happened,” said George, who called 9-1-1 right away. But George’s speedy reaction wasn’t all military training. He quickly recognized the stroke symptoms because he’d seen the American Stroke Association’s public service announcement: “Time Lost is Brain Lost.”

“I’d heard it and I’d seen it,” he said, “and it was definitely on my mind.”
 
The paramedics arrived quickly, and Paul was transported to Saint Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., which specializes in stroke cases. With information provided by George and the paramedics, the doctors were able to start immediate stroke assessment and treatment. This was crucial, because early treatment can help prevent disability — and even death — from stroke. 

Paul spent six weeks in rehab, and although his left side is still impaired, he has made great progress and his prognosis is good. Thanks to George’s quick actions, Paul can still do things that matter most to him, like attend his granddaughter’s soccer games.
 
In recognition of his quick thinking, the American Stroke Association presented George with the Brain Saver Award in October 2010. The award honors courageous acts in recognizing the warning signs of stroke and taking action to promote early intervention and treatment.

Paul and his family attended the ceremony.
 
George, a volunteer driver for the Community Blood Center, takes his own health and fitness seriously, working out several times a week. Not long before Paul’s stroke, George was riding his bike when he suffered a heat stroke and was helped by a good Samaritan. Helping save Paul’s life, he said, was a way to give back. 

The event also strengthened the men’s friendship. Before the stroke, George and Paul waved occasionally from across the street. Now they’re friends who visit frequently and keep up with each other’s lives.
 
George hopes more people will take the time to educate themselves about the American Stroke Association’s message. He said the public service announcement is an excellent reminder for bystanders if they think someone nearby is having a stroke.

“You need to hurry,” he said. “Time lost really is brain lost — and it could be life lost.”

Learn the warning signs of stroke