Survivor Hero – Judy Crane

I'm honored to be recognized with this prestigious award! I feel this acknowledgement validates the importance of peer programs to support stroke survivors as they adjust to  life after a stroke.

Since her stroke, Judy Crane has been a passionate activist, mentor and peer for survivors.  In 2011, soon after she began serving on the Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC) Patient and Family Advisory Council in Annapolis, Maryland, she partnered with the stroke coordinator and nursing leaders to obtain and allocate funding for a peer/mentoring stroke program.

She also works with the center’s patient therapy program and other stroke survivors to assign peer mentoring. And she organizes activities such as Work Out Your Words, a program combining speech with movement for stroke survivors. Working with the in-patient stroke unit staff, she helps organize bedside and discharge support.

Meanwhile, she works part-time at the Snyder Center for Aphasia Life Enhancement and coordinates groups for the Young Aphasia Communication Club in Maryland, which she started in 2007.

In 2005, Judy was a 47-year-old mother, wife and medical sales professional when a stroke abruptly interrupted her life. She subsequently had four surgeries related to aortic dissection and stroke.

After a five-week hospital stay, Judy went to rehab before finally returning home with global aphasia as her most prominent deficit.

Now a new grandmother, Judy still actively participates on the AAMC’s multi-disciplinary stroke committee.

The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t slowed her down either. She shifted her support groups to Zoom while encouraging members to also use FaceTime, email and telephone calls to connect.

Judy, who also shares her story at local gatherings and in-services for medical professionals, said she’s driven by the desire to give survivors hope and show that life still goes on—even after a stroke.