I am … Other.
My name is Deanna Coopersmith-Marquez and I am the President of the non-profit organization, The Scott Coopersmith Stroke Awareness Foundation, created in honor of my late husband, Scott. On the night of July 14, 2009, Scott went to sleep a healthy man who didn’t have any of the risk factors related to a stroke. He didn’t drink. He didn’t smoke. He wasn’t over weight. He was a loving husband and father, packed and ready to leave for a vacation with his family the next day. Sadly, on the morning of July 15, 2009, when I woke up, I found him unresponsive in our bathroom. He had suffered a massive stroke in his brain stem at the young age of 32. He underwent 4 surgeries in 2 days and with his family at his bedside slipped further and further away with each additional stroke he suffered. He passed away a week later leaving me a 29 year old widow and our not yet two year old son without a daddy. I made a promise the day that we lost Scott that his death would not be in vein and that his son would forever know, love and remember his daddy. With each year that has passed, I have hosted a charity event on the anniversary of his passing to raise funds to help survivors, celebrate his life and raise stroke awareness in his honor specifically in young people.
In 2010, on the 1st anniversary of his passing, Scott’s brother and I put together a golf tournament for friends and family to help us get through the day. We ended up raising $10,000 for the National Stroke Association. The following year, with help from Scott’s brother, Craig, we established the Scott Coopersmith Stroke Awareness Foundation, a 501 c (3) organization and have not looked back.
Each year on the anniversary of Scott’s passing we host a charity gala, and to date, The Scott Coopersmith Stroke Awareness Foundation has helped our community of stroke survivors and their families in numerous ways:
• Assists survivors with funds in order to ensure they receive proper rehabilitation when insurance benefits run out
• Offers group counseling to caretakers of survivors with a Licensed Mental Health Counselor
• Funded informational video brochures that are currently in production that will be distributed to stroke patients and their families as they are brought into Florida hospital to inform them about what is happening to their loved one
• Funded a family waiting room located on the Neuro Critical Care Unit at Florida Hospital South complete with game kiosks for children and serene murals on the walls to offer a peaceful room for families while their loved ones are in the unit
• Speaks to raise awareness of F.A.S.T. at local agencies including the Rotary Club, UCF, Florida Hospital and City Hall in downtown Orlando on World Stroke Day about the importance of recognizing the signs and symptoms of stroke
It is our mission to connect with those affected by stroke and health care professionals through community outreach. We raise funds to further the awareness of stroke in young individuals, encourage the rehabilitation of survivors, and provide emotional and financial assistance to survivors and caregivers.
Most people, including myself before I lost Scott, believe that stroke can only happen to the elderly, but the truth is that it can happen to anyone at any age. Since I founded SCSAF, I’ve met Melanie, a Florida mom whose son, Jack, had a stroke at 2 days old (he is now in the 4th grade and in my son’s class). I’ve met Alex, a young girl who had a stroke when she was in middle school and is now attending UCF. I’ve met Robert, who had a stroke two months after graduating from UCF (he now volunteers for our board and graduated with his Master’s from UCF. I’ve met Mateo, a three-month old that just had a stroke in March 2016. I’ve learned of John, a Florida high school student who suffered a stroke in December 2015 and now has locked in syndrome. And of course, there is Scott. He lives on in our son and through our foundation.
Keeping Scott’s memory alive for our family, most specifically my son, has become my full-time job and is beyond rewarding. In the past, I have discovered my son going to sleep with our gala program (which has Scott’s picture on it) in his hand. It melted my heart. Every time someone calls from the waiting room or after visiting our website and thanks us and says that our story really helped them, it reminds me that I am making a positive difference in our community and in Scott’s memory. I want more than anything for people to know that we exist and our foundation is here to help other survivors.
Please visit www.strokeawarenessfoundation.org if you are a survivor and need assistance, to watch videos, see pictures and learn more about Scott, our foundation, and our charity events.
Visit https://youtu.be/VlV2FkUqrVk to see some of the survivors we have helped in the past.
Like Us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SCSAF.hope/