Frank Giammarino

Frank has been an After Stroke volunteer since 2015. Drawing on his own experiences, he finds joy in providing hope and support to others who have had their lives changed by a stroke.

man with glasses and mustache

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.

Frank starts each day with prayers, meditation and exercise. Occasionally, he tends to his stamp and coin collection. And three times a week, he volunteers with stroke survivors.

“I want to help them cope with the disability. I had a stroke in 2005, and when I left the hospital, I didn’t receive information on the kind of support available to help me during recovery,” said Frank. “I want them to know it’s going to get better, and it’s important to accept their disability and move forward.”

At the time of his stroke, Frank didn’t know about March of Dimes Canada. Later in his recovery, a friend told him about the Next Steps Walking program and he joined. Then in 2015, he became a March of Dimes Canada volunteer with the organization’s After Stroke program.

How we helped

Since Frank became an After Stroke volunteer, he has provided emotional support through hospital visits with people who have recently had a stroke. Frank is provided with the name of a stroke survivor, and over a span of three months, they chat every two weeks over the phone.

When Frank first talks to a stroke survivor, he shares his story. He wants them to know he understands what they are going through, and to realize there is hope. He tells them it is a process that takes time and requires a lot of effort, while at the same time reassuring them that things will get better.

Knowing he has made someone happy and seeing their improvement is perhaps the best part of his role. “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.”