BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — The Stroke Hero Awards is accepting votes for the Voter’s Choice Award from now until Thursday, March 31, and a local woman is up for the honor.
Cindy Roshon, of Toledo, suffered a stroke in 1998. A mother to three children, her life changed quickly, and she was unable to care for herself and her children.
“I had the stroke 25 years ago and I couldn’t walk or talk. My speech was guttural,” Roshon said.
After several different therapies, Roshon was able to move forward with her life, but the stroke still affects her to this day.
“I have aphasia – I can’t get the words out,” Roshon said.
According to the American Stroke Association – which hosts the Stroke Hero Awards – aphasia is a language disorder that affects the ability to communicate.
Strokes can have long-term effects on people. They are the fifth cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of disability; however, many insurance policies only cover about a year of therapy after a stroke.
“After a year or two of insurance-related therapy, you’ve still had the stroke,” Roshon said. “We started a nonprofit; it was the fourth in the country to help after insurance expires.”
The Stroke Life Center, started by Roshon and Sue Rindskopf, helps with speech and occupational therapy, exercise and support groups.
“It’s all free to the stroke survivors,” Roshon said. “We do dinners, we go to Walleye games and Mud Hens games. It’s something to fill the void in their lives.”
While the Stroke Life Center, which is located at Mercy College, 2200 Jefferson Ave., in Toledo, provides support for stroke victims, the organization is always open to support from the community.
“We love donations because we don’t have any grants or anything,” Roshon said.
Donations can be made on the website, strokelifecenter.org. Other ways to support the group and stroke survivors is to volunteer and vote for Roshon for the Voter’s Choice Stroke Hero Award.
“I think the award could give us some national attention,” Roshon said. “Getting in the spotlight has really helped.”
The Stroke Hero Awards voting ends on Thursday, March 31. Voters can select Roshon to win by using a valid email address and voting once every 24 hours at heroes.stroke.org/Cindy-Roshon/.
Another way the Stroke Life Center and the American Stroke Association has continued to help is by informing others about the signs of a stroke.
Using the acronym F.A.S.T. is a simple way to identify a stroke and remember the steps to take: Face drooping? Arm weakness? Speech difficulty? Time to call 9-1-1.
“Toledo has the stroke ambulance. When you call 9-1-1 and tell them someone is having a stroke, the stroke ambulance comes out,” Roshon said. “They can do a CT scan and confer with the neurologist in the ambulance.”
A quick response is necessary. With ischemic stroke, an IV tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) can break up the blood clot and potentially save the patient.
“If you have a stroke that can be treated with tPA, and that goes in within a few hours, that increases your chances,” Roshon said.
Those who are suffering the effects of a stroke and live in the area can turn to the people at the Stroke Life Center, like Roshon, who are ready to help.
“There is life after stroke,” Roshon said. “My youngest daughter was 4 when I had the stroke. There were certain things that I couldn’t do, but I was able to make it work.”
To bring awareness to the possibilities for life after stroke and provide necessary attention on the issue, those interested can vote for Roshon every day from now until the end of the month at heroes.stroke.org/Cindy-Roshon/.