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Stroke Smart Magazine

May/June 2009

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Stroke Camps
Can-Do Spirit Prevails after Weekend of Rest and Retreat

By MaryLee Nunley Founder Retreat and Refresh Stroke Camp

Stroke survivors and caregivers quickly come to understand there is a long and winding jour­ney ahead. Unlike many medical crises, stroke recovery is not weeks or months, but months and years. When my husband had his stroke I wondered: “Could I keep on doing this caregiver thing for the rest of our lives?” We were only in our 50s.

Having volunteered at a specialized camp, I realized that attending a weekend retreat stroke camp might be exactly what I needed.

One Weekend, a Lifetime of Memories

Stroke camps offer stroke survivors and caregivers a time to learn, socialize, relax and share challenges. After the first camp we were hooked. From the Friday night hayride and campfire, to the hugs and good wishes as everyone left on Sunday afternoon, the weekend was infused with the “can-do” spirit. I have many fond memories: listening to six aphasic stroke survivors singing happy birthday; seeing a survivor get up out of a wheelchair and dance with the caregiver; watching a caregiver enjoying crafts while her survivor cast a lure into the lake with visions of catching a fish; and learning that none of us are alone in meeting our daily challenges.

Campers leave inspired, motivated and have:

  • the joy of lasting friendships.
  • the reduced feelings of isolation.
  • the confidence to travel again.

For many campers looking forward to returning to camp provides the positive energy need to get by difficult days.

How to Select a Camp

  • Evaluate the facility to assure the accommodations will fit your needs.
  • Look at the activities and consider the educational and socialization aspects of camp.
  • Consider the number of camp participants, cost, ratio of volunteers to camper and ease of registration.

Marylee and John Nunley are founders of Retreat and Refresh Stroke Camp. John suffered a stroke in 2001 and the camps began in 2004. For more information on Retreat and Refresh Stroke Camp visit www.strokecamp.org or e-mail info@strokecamp.org.



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National Stroke Association’s mission is to reduce the incidence and impact of stroke by developing compelling education and programs focused on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and support for all impacted by stroke.

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