Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death in America and adult disability.

I experienced this first hand, five years ago, when a close family member of mine suffered a massive brain bleed - a Hemorrhagic Stroke, which is the worst type of stroke.  It can be devastating!

This family member lost all body functions, including the ability to walk, eat, and speak. The independence this person once had was immediately taken away.

Life changes in a minute! With physical therapy, speech therapy, and constant family support this person is functioning again.

What is stroke?

A stroke is a "brain attack." It can happen to anyone at any time. It occurs when blood flow to an area of brain is cut off. When this happens, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain such as memory and muscle control are lost. Visit www.stroke.org for more information.

If you think someone might be having a stroke,

Take just 30 seconds to learn, Act FAST

FAST is an easy way to remember and identify the most common symptoms of a stroke. Recognition of stroke and calling 9-1-1 will determine how quickly someone will receive help and treatment. Getting to a hospital rapidly will more likely lead to a better recovery.

Use FAST to Remember the Warning Signs of a Stroke

F stands for face
FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A stands for arms
ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S stands for speech
SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
T stands for time
TIME: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Each May, the Minnesota Stroke Association celebrates National Stroke Awareness Month by sponsoring a walk.

The 2015 Strides for Stroke walk will take place on Saturday, May 16, 2015, 10:00 AM at four locations in Minnesota:
Duluth: Canal Park next to the Canal Park Lodge and Endion Station
Rochester: Silver Lake - West Pavillion
Saint Cloud: CentraCare Health Plaza
Saint Paul/Maplewood: Battle Creek Pavilion in Battle Creek Regional Park

Another fun event to raise stroke awareness is Strike out Stroke Day which occurs each spring in partnership with the Minnesota Twins.

For more information, visit www.strokemn.org.

Once again, this Saturday, I will be lacing up my athletic shoes and walking with my family and friends to create awareness for stroke!