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Stroke Smart Magazine


Winter 2010
CHAMPION OF HOPE

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New York City Marathoners: Footfalls for a Good Cause
National Stroke Association Team Raises Funds,
Awareness and Hope for Survivors

Most people would agree that 26.2 miles is a long way, especially on foot.

In July 2009, the National Stroke Association assembled a running team to participate in the New York City Marathon, a prestigious event drawing more than 40,000 participants and more than 1 million spectators each year. A group of 29 runners of varying backgrounds and experience levels from across the country committed to the challenges of completing the 26.2-mile trek and raising at least $2,500 each for National Stroke Association.

The team included stroke survivors, caregivers, people with a family member or loved one who had survived or died because of stroke, health care professionals who treat stroke survivors and many others. Each sacrificed time, sleep, energy and blistered feet. These sacrifices were not much, said runner Anne Allen Westbrooke, compared to what stroke survivors and caregivers go through. The strength, determination and love they [stroke survivors and caregivers] show while facing daily challenges, setbacks and personal achievements is so much greater than what it takes to train for a marathon.

Varying in age from mid 20s to early 60s, team members spanned a large spectrum of running experiences and stroke connections. From marathon veterans to those who had never tied their laces for a race, each signed on for one reason, they had been touched in some way by stroke. Team members dedicated themselves to this race because they were inspired to make a difference in the world of stroke. I’ve run for myself in the past, and now I can run with more meaning, said teammate Gregory Mateja.

Raising funds and awareness for stroke were not the only goals these runners had. Four teammates were stroke survivors, thankful for the ability to run and wanting to assure other survivors that each day brings new chances for recovery. Completing this marathon was not only a personal victory for each runner, but also a symbol of recovery and hope. Every step I run, I think about how lucky I am to be alive and to be able to not only live and enjoy life but to be able to do something to help others who are not as fortunate as I have been . . . I run because I can, said teammate and stroke survivor Lenice Hogan.

On Nov. 1, the team braved the long distance from Staten Island, through Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx, finishing in Central Park. Together, they covered more than 700 miles and raised approximately $100,000 for National Stroke Association.

While it’s true that 26 miles is a long distance, it’s not quite as long when driven by a desire: to make a difference, to raise awareness and funds, to honor a loved one and to give hope to others. National Stroke Association’s New York Marathon team members are everyday people who took on a challenge to make a difference in the world of stroke. For this, they truly are champions of hope.

Run On

For more information on National Stroke Association’s New York City Marathon team and to get involved or to participate, visit stroke.org/nymarathon.

Annalise de Zoete is a member of the inaugural New York City Marathon Team and the Support Group Leader at National Stroke Association.


 

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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.

National Stroke Association

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