Inspirational Stories of Stroke Survivors

Updated:Oct 30,2018
Melynda Rackley — Motivated by her desire to care for her daughter, a first-time mom overcomes challenges of a stroke she suffered during delivery.
Donna Arnett, Ph.D. — Past AHA/ASA President shares her stroke survival story at age 27. She wants other stroke survivors to know that you can get your life back!
Kirk Disrude — When Kirk was alternating between vomiting and sleeping following a stroke, his wife had one rule for visitors: No crying. A can-do attitude helped Kirk recover so well that he and his wife ran the Chicago Marathon just 13 months after his stroke.
Penny Santoro — This ‘perky’ woman accustomed to working hard and caring for her family recovers from a stroke with the support of her grown children.
Tom Kloster — Only one doctor in North Dakota was trained to perform the lifesaving procedure Tom Kloster needed. Now, Tom is a You're the Cure advocate, working to improve access to lifesaving care for all Americans.
Katherine Wolf — Although ‘Mommy’s brain got hurt,’ this former model remains upbeat and optimistic after having a massive brain stem stroke.
Artful Recovery — Survivor and sculptor Tesi Sanchez-Halbert creates whimsical sculptures that make you laugh. She says her sculptures have been a way to validate her worth when she lost her job after a stroke at 48. Survivor and artist Gary Bachers uses his meditative drawings to communicate with the world after a stroke took his speech at 38.
Beverly Paige — A stroke weakened her mind, not her will. At 52, she decided to head to college for some mind-sharpening English classes.
Due to his military medical training and his awareness of the American Stroke Association's public announcement "Time Lost is Brain Lost", George Peters was quick to recognize the signs when he saw his neighbor take a spill in his front yard.
Chris McLachlin - A retired high school teacher and basketball coach who went on to become a passionate American Heart Association volunteer and whose efforts to improve the nation’s systems of care and increase medical research landed him in the office of his most famous former player: President Barack Obama.
Four-time stroke survivor Mycle Brandy is walking across America. Read his amazing story to see why.
Katie Jerdee — This young college athlete suffered a stroke during a team run. Even though she had to relearn how to write, walk and run, she was able to play soccer again.
Megan Timothy: "Let me die laughing!" — When Megan Timothy had a stroke as the result of aneurysm, she was sent to a state mental hospital. Her only words were “chicken” and some obscenities. Her amazing recovery, from learning to speak and read again to bicycling 12,000 miles around the United States, is sure to inspire you.
Life is at the Curb - John Kawie, Stroke Survivor — You have to be passionate to risk falling flat in front of a roomful of strangers, and John couldn't shake his desire to make people laugh. He called the show "Brain Freeze."
Yvette Fields, A Blessed Survivor — Even after suffering a series of strokes in 2002, Yvette feels blessed to be alive and has a greater purpose. She says "I have learned and now I live.” Read Yvette's story and blog as she strives to live her life to the fullest.
Mark Acevedo — When Mark Acevedo had a stroke, he didn't call 9-1-1. He didn't have to. A fire captain in Ventura, Calif., he was already with the emergency response unit, fighting a wild-lands fire, when his left leg gave out and his speech started to slur.
Nicki James (Petrelli) — Recognizing the signs, even when they're not divine! A previously undetected heart defect caused Nicki to have a stroke while at church. Today, Nicki is an avid runner and participates in events in the Houston area to raise money and awareness to help stop stroke.
Catherine Romero — Catherine's stroke transformed her from a healthy athlete to a woman with severe disabilities. Now, not only is she a volunteer for the American Heart Association, she recently completed a triathlon.
Sarah Abrusley — She was a a 29-year-old nonsmoking vegetarian and ballerina who worked out four hours a day when she had a stroke. This survivor calls her stroke a gift. Read her story to find out why.
Rod McLean — For ten years after his stroke he anguished over his poor self-image, constantly comparing himself to himself before the stroke. His attempts to change that negative viewpoint caused him to realize how screwed up he was. He felt as if he were fighting to keep from sinking in quicksand.

Survivors Under Age 18

Oliver Michael, Infant Stroke Survivor — Strokes can happen to the very young, even infants. Oliver Michael suffered both an ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke within his first 24 hours of life.
Erik Dornbush, Teenage Stroke Survivor — Less than a month before his thirteenth birthday, he'll never forget the day that changed his life forever.

Locked-in Syndrome

Mikey Dee, Stroke Survivor — Mikey's stroke damaged the ventral pons in his brain stem. This severe and rare kind of stroke left Mikey locked-in. Following the stroke, Mikey's friends got together to see what they could do to help.
Kristi O'Donnell, Stroke Survivor — Kristi had a massive brain stem stroke that caused her to be locked in at age 30.