Pediatric Hero – Sarah Weiss

I am surprised and proud to win the Pediatric Hero award. I hope learning about my journey will help others struggling to recover from a stroke; it isn’t easy.  I am also excited because the message will allow more people, especially young people, to learn the signs of a stroke. 

Sarah Weiss was only 11 when she had a devastating stroke during swim practice.

But it didn’t stop the Omaha, Nebraska resident.

Through extensive physical therapy, she’s regained most of the use of the right side of her body, overcome reading and communication challenges, and even switched to writing from her right hand to her left. 

Sarah has now made it her mission to make others aware of stroke — from her classmates to those in her community. She has designed, printed and distributed bookmarks to teach people the stroke warning signs and how to respond to a stroke F.A.S.T.: Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 911.

An ardent advocate for the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, Sarah also spreads her message through media interviews and shares her story as a stroke survivor at Go Red for Women events and with others her age in support groups across the city.

“I thought I was really healthy and I thought I would never have to worry about something like that,” said Sarah, who was active in dance and golf when she had the stroke. “It could happen to anyone. So I feel like everybody should know how to spot a stroke.”

One day she plans to be a nurse or a speech therapist. Meanwhile, she’s back in the pool.