I'll never forget the first stroke patient I worked with as a volunteer during college. “I just want to be able to smile at my children again," she said to the speech therapist. These words have echoed in my head over and over again since that day. I remember leaving the hospital almost in tears, thinking that there's no way I would ever be able to work with people who had strokes.
It turns out, God had other plans for me. Fast forward to 6 years later, and I now know with my entire heart and soul that working with these individuals is exactly what I was put on this earth to do. As a speech-language pathologist at a rehabilitation facility, a huge part of my job is helping stroke patients relearn how to strengthen and move the muscles that are required to speak, eat, drink, and smile again- seemingly "simple" tasks that we so often take for granted in life.
As a tribute to the many stroke patients I've had who have changed my life forever, and in loving memory of my dear Grandma Dolores who suffered from multiple strokes, I have decided to run the Chicago Marathon for the American Heart and Stroke Association!
The American Heart and Stroke Association is the largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting strokes and heart disease. I hope that you will consider donating to this incredible cause, and support me as I run 26.2 miles for a non-profit that is so near & dear to my heart!