Text Size




National Stroke Association is working with Genentech to launch Time to Talk, a national stroke awareness campaign to encourage people to take action by talking with family and friends about the signs and symptoms of stroke and what to do if a stroke occurs. Time to Talk asks individuals to pay it forward by sharing vital information about stroke and the importance of acting quickly. You never know when you might need to help someone around you or yourself—have the conversation today!

Photo of Sarah

Sarah Parker, MD

Time To Talk:
Stroke, A Family Bond

At 17, Sarah Parker witnessed her grandmother’s stroke and helped care for her afterward. Sarah became a neurologist so she could help people like her grandmother. New technologies and treatments mean that for many patients who have a stroke, outcomes can be very different than they were for her grandmother—if people know what to do.

Experiences early in life often set us on paths that shape the people we become. For Sarah, witnessing her grandmother’s stroke when Sarah was only a junior in high school ultimately led her to pursue a career in medicine—specifically to become a neurologist who works with stroke survivors every day.

Her grandmother was 80 years old when Sarah watched her walk outside of her home and suddenly fall straight to the ground. Her grandmother's left arm hung by her side and the left side of her face was motionless. Even at 17, Sarah knew immediately what had happened: her grandmother was having a stroke.

“The treatments we have now were not available when my grandma had a stroke,” said Dr. Parker, remembering her frustration as a teenager that more could not have been done for her loved one. Post-stroke, Dr. Parker’s grandmother had been left with complete paralysis of her left arm, some small movement in her left leg, facial droop and slurred speech. "At the time, I remember a neurologist saying that he had never seen someone with a stroke that big look so good. That was not my idea of good.”

Since her grandmother was unable to care for herself after the stroke, 17-year-old Sarah became the secondary caregiver for her grandmother. Upon entering medical school, Sarah was originally focused on sleep neurology, until she was required to complete a stroke rotation.

“Patients reminded me of my grandma and their family members reminded me of myself,” said Dr. Parker. “That was when I realized that I had the power to help these people, because I had been in their position. I decided to become a stroke neurologist.”

New technologies and treatments mean that for many patients who have stroke, outcomes can be very different than they were for her grandmother. If people know what to do. 

“I think it’s so important for people to find the Time to Talk about stroke,” said Dr. Parker. “Treatments can only be provided if you know you are having a stroke, call 9-1-1 and get to the hospital.”

Back to top | Return to main page

Photo of Dan Hetrick

Dan Hetrick

Time To Talk:
The Clock Starts Ticking With Stroke

For Dan Hetrick, a 43-year-old father of three, divine intervention and a speedy response from his local hospital may have lessened the effects of what could have been a much more devastating experience. It was a Sunday morning two years ago when Dan, a drummer, was rehearsing with his band at church when he started to feel odd. He suddenly dropped his left stick and started to fall.

“I was very fortunate that there are several people in the band who work in the healthcare field,” Dan said. “They realized I was having a stroke and immediately called 9-1-1.”

Within 10 minutes, paramedics had arrived and within another 10 minutes, he had been taken to the closest designated stroke center, where he received treatment in less than an hour. While he was ultimately told by his physician that on the CT scan his acute ischemic stroke was the size of a golf ball, Dan considers himself lucky that he had been surrounded by people who knew what to do.  

“We all need to know the signs of a stroke because time is so important in making sure you have a chance at limiting the effects,” Dan said. Even with successful treatment, Dan still is in the midst of recovery. Prior to his stroke, Dan had lost 80 pounds by committing himself to a healthy regimen that included running and he still has completing a marathon on his bucket list.

“I still have that runner’s spirit and I’m bound and determined to compete in one,” Dan said. He has also committed himself to encouraging others that it is Time to Talk about stroke. “Just like in a race, once you have a stroke, the clock is ticking; so knowing what to do and doing it quickly is so important.”

Back to top | Return to main page

Photo of Bob

Bob Steele

Time To Talk:
With a Stroke, 9-1-1 Is Key

On the morning of June 28, 2008, 62-year-old Bob Steele of Marietta, Ga., was outside mowing his lawn when suddenly he felt dizzy and fell to the ground.  His entire right side went numb and he could barely speak.  “I tried to call out to my neighbor, but I could only whisper,” Bob recalls. Instantly, he knew he was having a stroke.

Fortunately, Bob’s daughter found him outside and rushed to her father’s side. He was able to communicate to her that he thought he was having a stroke and to call 9-1-1.

Within 15 minutes, EMS had brought Bob to the hospital where he was evaluated by the stroke team, who confirmed through a CT scan that he had suffered an acute ischemic stroke. 

While he still has some trouble with word association, Bob says he believes he was given a second chance and is encouraging others that it’s Time to Talk about stroke.  

“My stroke taught me that life is short,” said Bob. “I strongly encourage everyone to have the conversation about stroke with family and friends. Make sure you know the signs and symptoms of stroke and what to do if a stroke occurs.”

Since his stroke, Bob was invited by a friend to share his experience with stroke and what he had learned.

“Stroke can happen to anyone at any time, so being prepared and educated is crucial," said Bob. “You never know when you might need to help someone around you or help yourself.”

Back to top | Return to main page

It’s Time to Talk to your friends and family about stroke.


FAST wallet card - front and back


» Know and share the signs and symptoms of stroke.

» Download the FAST wallet card.

Time to Talk Campaign is supported by Genentech, a member of the Roche Group.

Get Involved

Stroke and You

Subscribe to StrokeSmart Now

National Stroke Association

9707 E. Easter Lane, Suite B
Centennial, CO 80112

Stroke Help Line logo