Personal Stories

Stories of stroke survivors and those who care for them.

A stroke impacts not only the person who experienced the stroke, but also those around them.

Take a look through the personal stories shared below to learn about how stroke changes lives, how people are making a difference and how After Stroke helps survivors and their families move forward after a stroke.

Smiling Denis in this truck

Denis Hamel

“Driving is freedom,” says Denis. “I’ve driven big rigs across the country since the age of 16 and was also an instructor. Being on the road was my time to think. That’s why driving is so important to me.”

Denis’s stroke took away his ability to drive, and the freedom that came with it. All of his therapy and his hard work paid off, and a year and half from the time of his stroke, he is once again free behind the wheel.

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Elaine in front of sewing machine making a quilt

Elaine Godkin

Talking with others who have also experienced a stroke or strokes has reduced feelings of isolation and loneliness for Elaine and sparked lasting friendships.

Elaine Godkin was an avid sewer who loved making quilts to give to her family and friends. Then she had a stroke and didn’t think she would ever quilt again.

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smiling woman - Angie

Angie Montagnese

I tell other stroke survivors to never give up, try your best. You survived a stroke, that’s huge – we should all be proud to be survivors. You need to try every day to get better. Be positive, don’t stop, because life hasn’t stopped. There is life after stroke.”

Five years ago when Angie was 43, Angie had a warning stroke. She was dizzy, lost her vision and passed out. When she came to, she was able to call out to her son and he dialed 911.

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smiling Anita and Thomas on pathway in the park

Anita Lam

He’s happier attending the support group because he doesn’t feel alone anymore, and I have other caregivers and people to talk to. I get to release some of my anxiety.”

In December 2014, Anita Lam's husband, Thomas, fell three times. That's when she took him to a neurologist. Brain imaging revealed that he'd probably had several transient ischemic attacks, or TIAs, which are small strokes.

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smiling man - Hass

Hass Mawji

The virtual After Stroke conversation and Aphasia Peer Connect groups have been so positive that I hope virtual programs are here to stay, even when we can meet in person again.”

Hass has been doing a lot of learning online these days. Strangely enough, it was during a video call in 2015 that he first knew something was wrong.

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man with glasses and mustache

Frank Giammarino

Recently, I talked to a stroke survivor and after our conversation, he sent me a text that said, ‘You don’t know how happy I am every time I talk to you. That is the reward of being a volunteer.”

If there is something Frank likes more than his morning espresso, it is helping people. As a retiree he has plenty of time for himself and others, and his typical week is always busy.

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