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Grant Needham

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rant Needham, 47, had a stroke in 2012. He was attending a church service when suddenly he lost almost all of his vision and control over most of his body. Thankfully his godmother, who was sitting next to him, recognized that he was having a stroke.

At the hospital, Grant learned that the cause of his stroke was a patent foramen ovale (PFO). A PFO is a small hole in the heart that often has no symptoms. As many as 20 percent of people living in the U.S. have a PFO, but don’t know it until they have a stroke or a mini-stroke. A PFO increases a person’s stroke risk by up to 25 percent.

Grant’s story seems like a miracle, since after his severe stroke, he went home after only four days in the hospital and continued his recovery. He was back at work a mere three weeks after his stroke.

For a moment after his stroke, he questioned his ability to go back to work. Applying for disability was an option. But regaining his independence was important to him.

Back at work, Grant was challenged with typing emails, following through with a thought from start to finish and aphasia. He worked in a call center and spent much of his time on the phone.

Grant actively met the challenges of going back to work. Before returning to work, his friends and family practiced word pronunciation with him and he practiced reading aloud and speaking on the phone. He also noticed that speaking at a slower pace made a difference.

He worked shorter hours and had help typing emails. He was also closely monitored by caring co-workers for compliance with his doctor’s recommendations not to overdo it. He cannot say enough about the support and encouragement he received from his employer and co-workers.

Today, Grant is getting back to all the activities he enjoyed before his stroke: golf, fly fishing, skiing and basketball. He has a new outlook on life and feels like he has become more patient and a better listener.

» Join Grant by sharing your story and becoming a Face of Stroke.

» Learn more about PFO.

» Watch the Living After Stroke webinar on Returning to Work Post-stroke.

» Help more stroke survivors return to work.

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Faces of Stroke campaign is supported by funding provided by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Allergan, Inc., Medtronic, Inc., Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Acorda Therapeutics, Inc., and Genentech Inc.

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