National Stroke Association Announces Winners of RAISE Awards

The National Stroke Association presented seven RAISE (Raising Awareness in Stroke Excellence) Awards that recognize individuals and groups for taking stroke awareness to new heights.

“We were touched by the many nominations we received this year from individuals and groups who work year-round to raise awareness for stroke prevention and recovery,” said Robyn Moore, CEO of the National Stroke Association. “Each of our award winners represents the countless support programs throughout the U.S. that help stroke survivors and caregivers come back strong from stroke.”

The sixth annual RAISE Awards, presented by the only national organization devoted 100 percent to stroke, showcases some of the best programs in stroke awareness from across the U.S. where each year nearly 800,000 people experience a stroke. The awards also honor individuals working on the frontlines of stroke prevention and awareness.

Here are the 2016 RAISE Award winners:

  • Most Creative: The NYU Lutheran Augustana Support Group in Brooklyn, N.Y. Group members create individual and group art to explore their feelings surrounding their stroke recoveries. Participants discuss the outcomes of their creations to help them feel empowered in their creativity.
  • Most Impactful: Austin Speech Labs in Austin, Texas. Austin Speech Labs provides a supportive environment for their clients so they can complete intensive, individualized speech therapy. Austin Speech Labs has provided more than 14,000 hours of intensive speech therapy to over 500 stroke survivors, and educated over 1,000 community members on stroke and neuroplasticity.
  • Outstanding Individual: Emily Lites of Argyle, Texas. Eight years ago, Emily started Smile Boxes, a nonprofit organization that provides boxes of toys and activities for children and their siblings in the hospital. Since then, she developed a pediatric stroke awareness 5K held every September in honor of her brother, Jude, who had a stroke in utero.
  • Outstanding Group: University of Colorado Hospital Stroke Program in Aurora, Colo. The University of Colorado Hospital has a small stroke team that has made big impact, especially in 2016. The group worked tirelessly to provide personalized education and attention to stroke patients and families, and does community outreach through education and awareness activities.
  • Most Impactful Community Fundraising Effort: Alicia Thompson of Wilmington, Del. Following her father’s recovery from a stroke, Alicia organized Dan’s Dash, an awareness and fundraising run/walk event. Through her fundraising efforts which included a National Stroke Association fundraising page, Alicia raised nearly $6,000 for the National Stroke Association in 2016 and is planning another event in 2017.
  • Outstanding Support Group: Mount Sinai STARS (Surviving and Thriving After Rehabilitation of Stroke in New York. The Mount Sinai STARS support group participates in adaptive programming such as swimming and dance classes and serves as a positive outlet to help stroke survivors overcome personal challenges. With education, passion, motivation and determination, this group continues to do things they love and experience new activities.
  • Voter’s Choice Award: Jake Hulbert of Centennial, Colo. The Voter’s Choice Award is left in the hands of the public and this year’s award goes to Jake Hulbert. Jake, now a teenager, has been involved in stroke awareness since his own stroke at age 8. His awareness efforts include throwing out the first pitch at a Major League Baseball game for stroke awareness, partaking in talks about stroke at the Capitol, and writing school papers. He even created an original video, “Darth Vader has a Stroke,” bringing awareness to stroke in a youthful, fun and creative way.

CONTACT:  Lynn Bronikowski, National Stroke Association, 303-754-0913,