Stroke Smart Magazine
CHAMPION OF HOPE
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Gives His All to
Stroke Awareness Through Everyday Actions
By Annalise de Zoete
Location, location, location – that is what people say about stroke. The location of a stroke in the brain often determines symptoms and side effects. People also say that no two strokes are the same. Neither are stroke champions. From flashy fanfare to mundane methods, some champions spread hope in large and unusual ways. Some, like Bob Montressor, prefer integrating it into their regular routine.
In September 2003, Bob’s trip to the golf course turned into a life-changing event. Instead of hitting practice balls and working on his form as usual, he was rushed to the hospital when an employee recognized that Bob was having a stroke and called 911.
The alert employee’s quick action to get Bob rapid medical attention probably saved his life. After 10 days in intensive care, he moved to another hospital until two months later when he began outpatient therapy.
Today, Bob is functioning well. Yet despite rehabilitation, he still has lasting effects from the stroke. Though he plays golf, a condition called footdrop makes it impossible for him to walk a whole course. The limited use of his once-dominant left hand forced him to become right-handed. Deep post-stroke depression contributed to marital problems and, eventually, a divorce.
Despite these challenges, Bob – who doubles as a youth baseball umpire when not hitting the links – is hopeful that his physical condition will improve. He claims that his stubbornness and refusal to be limited have helped him get to where he is now. He does not give up hope. He tries harder and he advises others to “be stubborn too.”
Bob has not waited for a full recovery before becoming a stroke champion. He believes if he had known more about stroke, he probably could have avoided it by monitoring his high blood pressure. That is why he is so inspired to educate others about stroke prevention.
As a stroke champion, he never misses a chance to make a difference. In fact, helping to reduce stroke is a part of Bob’s daily life. Through small, everyday acts, Bob spreads awareness and educates others about stroke. He keeps copies of StrokeSmart™ in his truck to hand out to hospitals and interested people. He assists with fundraisers for National Stroke Association and other organizations. He even donates office supplies to National Stroke Association. Bob is driven to make a difference through any action, regardless of how small it might seem.
To his frustration, Bob has been unable to thank the golf course attendant who most likely saved his life. Yet, like the course employee, Bob too might never know how much his own generous spirit and tireless efforts have helped others.
Bob’s actions illustrate that championing hope does not come in a one-size-fits-all template. Hope is spread and a difference made from large events to seemingly small gestures. The culmination of Bob’s simple, everyday actions champions hope for others and makes a big difference, reminding us that each champion is as unique as a stroke itself. Visit stroke.org/risk to learn more about high blood pressure and other stroke risks.
Annalise de Zoete is Volunteer Development and Support Group Coordinator at National Stroke Association.
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