Life changes in an instant, as all stroke survivors come to know. Cody Dietz, suffered a severe middle cerebral artery (MCA) stroke in July 2008, at the age of 17. When it occurred, his friends and unfortunately a few health care professionals did not recognize the signs of stroke. Through aggressive treatment during his acute injury and ongoing therapy, he has made a remarkable recovery.
Shortly after his rehab stay, he started visiting other young stroke victims with his mother to share their story and provide support. They have also shared his story at our annual stroke awareness celebration. Cody was determined that sharing his experience would help others recognize and respond to stroke symptoms. He and his mother spent many hours working with our team to create a DVD titled "Cody's Story," which we use in our stroke outreach activities and for EMS education. This has been particularly powerful with our school-aged programs, as his story helps to impress teenagers that it can happen to young people.
He is convinced that he survived in order to be an example to others. It has been over two years, and Cody continues to recover fueled by his determination to drive again. He faces daily challenges and frustrations as a young adult stroke survivor, but he has taken his experience and turned it into a powerful lesson for others. That makes him not only a survivor but also an ambassador and in our eyes, a hero!