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Spring 2011

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Golf Event Raises Awareness of Stroke at Any Age

Coopersmith’s Event Honors Husband and Educates Others

By Annalise de Zoete

One minute I had a healthy husband, the next I was planning a funeral,”  said Deanna Coopersmith. Her husband Scott was a healthy 32-year-old banker when he died from stroke. He was the father of an active two-year-old son and showed no warning signs of stroke. His death shocked everyone.

“Scott was too young to pass away. Never in a million years did I think he would die of stroke,”  said Coopersmith. Losing her husband just weeks before her son’s third birthday, the summer and fall of 2009 were challenging for her. On Thanksgiving, Scott’s favorite holiday, Coopersmith spent the day in bed.

However, that was not her same course of action just one year later. In 2010, Coopersmith began proactively fulfilling her promise “to make something positive out of something negative.” She organized a stroke awareness and fundraising golf tournament, began a master’s degree in Group Therapy and provided a Thanksgiving meal to the neurological intensive care unit (ICU) that had treated Scott.

Together with Scott’s brother Craig, Coopersmith organized the first annual Scott Cory Coopersmith Stroke Awareness Golf Tournament held on the one-year anniversary of Scott’s passing. The two worked hard to make the event successful by soliciting sponsors, coordinating a silent auction, running a raffle and creating t-shirts. Because they wanted to include families, they also engaged a clown and a bouncy house so people could bring their kids to the tournament. Dozens of people attended and the event raised approximately $10,000 for National Stroke Association.

Because she basically lived in the hospital waiting room for a week after Scott had his stroke, this November Coopersmith and her in-laws brought Thanksgiving dinner to the families and staff in the ICU of Florida Hospital South. Some of the nurses working that day were the same people who had helped care for Scott. Coopersmith and Scott’s family hope to continue both the golf tournament and their new Thanksgiving tradition each year.

Coppersmith’s stroke-championing actions and hopeful attitude illustrate what she has said about her husband’s stroke—that she  “refused to let it take [her] life too.”  Coopersmith is passionate about talking about young people and stroke.  “My husband’s death was such an eye-opening event for so many people,”  she said. Coopersmith herself hadn’t known that stroke could be fatal. Even after discovering Scott had suffered a stroke, she assumed that he would face rehabilitation challenges but would survive.

Frustrated with the lack of stroke publicity and visibility, Coopersmith works hard to tell others about this deadly disease.  “People don’t even know what the symptoms [of stroke] are,”  she said. For that reason, and to honor her husband, this young widow and single mother has turned her devastating loss into meaningful action, diligently raising awareness about the reality of stroke at any age.

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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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