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Representative Joyce Beatty (Ohio)

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Drop cap Rep. Joyce Beatty became a stroke survivor in 1999, just after turning 50. She had just returned to her office from a community function and felt faint and strange. She noticed difficulty swallowing, inability to speak and numbness on her left side. She sought help from co-workers, who thought she was either choking or having a heart attack. Someone called 9-1-1 call and Rep. Beatty was rushed to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with cerebral brain stem stroke.

Like many people, Rep. Beatty thought she was too young to have a stroke. She did not realize that her risk for stroke was increased by various factors, including family history (both her maternal and paternal grandparents died of strokes), her ethnicity (African-American) and high blood pressure. In addition, her doctor had mentioned slightly high cholesterol, but being in shape and feeling well, she never suspected stroke.

Rep. Beatty was told it was doubtful she would walk again. During an inpatient stay at a rehabilitation center, she had daily speech, physical, occupational and psychological therapy. The regimen was intense, but with determination, faith and a sense of humor, she went above and beyond the therapists’ recommendations.

Today, Rep. Beatty considers herself “a walking miracle.” After her stroke, she drastically improved her diet, incorporating more vegetables, fruits and lean protein, which in turn reduced her cholesterol and the amount of medications she was taking. She increased her water intake from one glass every other day to six to eight glasses a day. She became more conscious of her weight and began listening to her body. She now makes more time for herself and her family, takes breaks when needed and embraces balance in her life. And she is now an advocate for stroke awareness, prevention, treatment and research.

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

» Learn more about African-Americans and stroke.

» Read Diana’s story.

» Read Pamela’s story.

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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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