BENEFITING: National Stroke Assn.
ORGANIZER: National Stroke Assn.
I have always loved Marathon Sunday in New York City. Some might have heard me refer to it as the "best day of the year in the city." Since my first Marathon Sunday in 2001 I have wanted to run but somehow "life" always seemed to get in the way.
I am happy to say that I am running in the 2016 New York City Marathon as part of the team representing the National Stroke Association. Those who know me for a long time know that my family was impacted by a stroke when my Nana had one in 1976. Those who know me also know that I am not a very good writer so I have enlisted the help of my Aunt Nancy (thank you so much) to tell you the story of what happened to her mother and the impact it had on our entire family. These are her words:
"Before the day of her stroke, my mother was a busy, active woman. She was smart and funny and had a quick, sharp and silly sense of humor. She loved puns and plays on words. She worked full time, had many friends, played tennis and bowled. She sang with her beloved Sweet Adeline chorus each week. She had the most beautiful singing voice and had even sung with an orchestra when she was a young woman and before she married my dad. Singing was probably the thing that gave her the most joy and satisfaction in life, outside of her family. After that day, none of those things that she loved remained.
After 2 months in a coma and 5 more months in the rehabilitation unit at the hospital she was able to come home. She never returned to work or to her activities. She didn’t sing again—she had been given a tracheotomy and had a nasogastric tube and her vocal chords were damaged. The damage done in her brain was to her speech center—the connection between what she wanted to say and what came out of her mouth was broken. She struggled to learn to read and write again. She couldn’t carry on a conversation. Her friends were uncomfortable – unused to seeing her so challenged. It was difficult to talk to her. Most of them didn’t stick around.
Fortunately she didn’t have any paralysis. But still we watched this vital, active woman lose so much. We lost so much. Her grandchildren were all born after that day and never got to know “Nana” as she had been. She couldn’t tell them how much she loved them, how proud of them she was, or take part in their lives in any way other than as an observer. She couldn’t do any of the things she loved any more. She couldn’t learn anything new because her short-term memory was affected. Her long-term memory was not, though, and she remembered everyone she knew and all the words to the old songs. It was heartbreaking to watch her struggling to sing them, with her voice barely above a whisper.
Most victims of cerebral hemorrhages don’t survive. We were one of the lucky families. But we had lost the wife and mother we knew and gotten someone else in return. Would we have chosen that over losing her altogether? Absolutely. But the impact it had on all of our lives was significant."
My goal is to raise $3,500 for this great cause while training for and completing my first marathon. I would appreciate any and all support from my family and friends and I hope to see you on race day.