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Smarter Living: Stroke Awareness Month

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

May is stroke awareness month and in this edition of ‘Smarter Living,’ we’ll introduce you to an amazing survivor who, at the age of 46, had to live in a nursing home. Now she’s making it her mission to educate people about strokes.

A stroke occurs when an artery to the brain is either blocked or bursts. In the U.S. alone, approximately every four minutes someone will die from a stroke.

Gladys Lundy has a collection of canes that she hopes she’ll never have to use again.

“This is my lifeline, just like the wheelchair,” she said.

Lundy is a stroke survivor.

“I was on a business trip in Florida and the following morning after arriving, I recognized some changes in my body.”

Lundy says she was stuttering, her equilibrium was off and she had difficulty walking, but she brushed it off.

That day, she ended up in the hospital. The next day, when she woke up, she was told she had had a stroke.

“At that time, I knew nothing about strokes. I was 46 years old, I thought I was in the best of health,” she said.

Her three-day business trip to Florida turned into 3 ½ years living in a nursing home.

“I can talk now, (but) then I couldn’t,” she said. “It was all gibberish, it was all unrecognizable speech.”

Bound to a wheelchair, it took years to re-learn what was once second nature to her.

Nine years later…

“It’s a challenge. It’s a challenge every day,” Lundy said.

She still battles with bouts of mini strokes.

"But, it doesn't stop me, I still have a message, I still want to make a difference in the community," she said.

Lundy stresses that if you think you or someone else is having a stroke, call 9-1-1 because, “time is brain loss.”

Lundy created Minority Women's Health Project and helped create Triangle Stroke to educate the community about the disease.

Using the word “FAST” helps to remember the warning signs of stroke.

F = Face. Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

A = Arms. Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S = Speech. Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?

T = Time. If you observed any of these signals, call 9-1-1 immediately.

For stroke resources, here are some websites:

National Stroke Association - www.stroke.org

www.meetup.com/TheMinorityWomenHealthProject/

Copyright WNCN 2014. All rights reserved.

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