Voters’ Choice Hero:
Rick Hoeg

Northville, Michigan
“Like, I imagine, most survivors, I never expected to be dealing with the circumstances of my stroke when I was. But throughout the entire process my sincere hope was to make something ‘good’ out of the ‘bad’ I was going through, and I felt that my experience making videos and online content presented a unique opportunity to talk to folks about so many things of which I was previously entirely unaware. To me, this award signifies that I was able to successfully reach people, and the votes I received are as much a testament to how caring and wonderful all those people are as to the virtues of the series itself. My sincere hope is that winning this award can help even more folks find the series and discussions on everything from prevention to rehabilitation, as well as meet some of the awesome folks that help made my and so many others’ recovery possible.” – Rick Hoeg

Rick Hoeg’s hemorrhagic stroke in December 2022 was one of the most traumatic moments of his life. It soon became a teachable moment as well.

Instead of quietly recovering out of the spotlight, Rick chronicled his recovery on social media. He created a nine-part YouTube series about stroke warning signs, treatments and prevention strategies, which he shared with his 100,000-plus viewers.

Rick began shooting the videos while he was still in outpatient rehab being treated by physical, occupational and speech therapists. He featured his rehabilitation therapists in several episodes. Rick says his stroke recovery was the most difficult challenge he ever faced, but he rose to the occasion. The stroke affected his entire left side, and some doctors believed he might never walk again. But when he was released, he was proud to be able to walk through his front door.

Rick’s grit and determination on camera had a powerful effect on the people who watched his progress. Many viewers got in touch to say that they started thinking differently about their own strokes and recovery experiences because of Rick’s response to his circumstances. He’s flattered, but he doesn’t think there’s anything remarkable about his dedication to his recovery. “If I can do it, so can you,” he says.

Rick was happy that his videos got such an enthusiastic response, but he wanted to do even more. He wanted to give back to the health centers where he received lifesaving treatment. Rick concluded his YouTube series with a fundraiser that featured special guests, including his brain surgeon. The effort raised $30,000 and has benefited the hospitals that treated Rick. Today he’s still educating viewers about stroke, and he visits the hospitals that saved him to remind health care professionals that what they do matters.