May Marks Stroke Recovery Awareness Month


Every ten minutes a Canadian will have a stroke. There are over 300,000 stroke survivors in Canada. Stroke affects not only the survivor, but the entire family, loved ones and friends as they adjust to the ‘new normal’ which may include permanent physical disability, communication disorders such as aphasia and emotional difficulties, including depression.

Stroke Recovery Canada®, a program of March of Dimes Canada, helps stroke survivors across the country to more easily re-engage in their communities, and affirm that there is meaningful, quality life after a stroke. With May designated as Stroke Recovery Awareness Month, March of Dimes has increased its efforts to educate the public about stroke recovery. The program is a national service offering post-recovery support, education and programs for stroke survivors, their families and health care providers. 

This year, March of Dimes Canada’s theme is Turning Point. The organization wants to hear what the turning point was in a survivor’s stroke recovery journey. March of Dimes is asking Canadians to share their photos, videos, or stories via email to help provide inspiration to other Canadians learning to survive and thrive after a stroke. March of Dimes Canada will post these messages of inspiration and hope on its website and social media accounts.

Stroke Recovery Canada spokesperson Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart, champion wrestler, shares his Turning Point.

"I had my stroke after falling from my bicycle riding the pathways of Calgary on June 24, 2002. It was only one week away from my 45th birthday and, within seconds, my life changed drastically - from being Bret "Hitman" Hart to being as helpless as a baby.

 Over the summer, I lay there stunned and emotionally wrecked, fearing that the best things in my life were over. However, my doctors and nurses rallied around me always giving me hope and encouragement. I made it my rule to do everything they told me to do to the best of my abilities. I pushed myself beyond limits I've never known before.

For me, there was a distinct turning point that came just as the summer ended. On September 4, while my wheelchair was being loaded up into a car, I sat in the passenger's seat. I flipped the visor down and stared at my drooped-down face, like I had been doing since my stroke. Every day, I gazed into that mirror and my left eye was wide open. I hadn't been able to blink since my stroke. That day, I looked into my own eyes and, lo and behold, one of my first real miracles came from a simple blink of my left eye. As small a victory as that was, I believe that was my turning point and I realized that new pathways in my brain were being formed. As I write this now, I can smile proudly at the short note that I wrote that day: "No fear, lots of hope," Bret Hart.

To share a story, please email xlopez@marchofdimes.ca

Throughout May, events will be held to educate the public about stroke, provide information on risk factors and prevention methods and more. For information or to join Stroke Recovery Canada call the Warmline® at 1-888-540-6666 or visit the Stroke Recovery Canada website at www.marchofdimes.ca/src. 

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