2013 RAISE Awards

The third annual RAISE Award winners were announced on Oct. 25, 2013. Seven award winners were named representing individuals and groups chosen from over 200 nominations. Watch Jim Baranski, Chief Executive Office for National Stroke Association, announce this year’s winners.

Most Creative

National Park Services
in collaboration with California State University East Bay’s Aphasia Treatment Program & Yosemite Conservancy

A collaboration between National Park Services, California State University’s Aphasia Treatment Program and a group of stroke and brain injury survivors with funding through a grant from the Yosemite Conservancy resulted in the development of an aphasia-friendly guide to Yosemite Valley. For the approximately 20,000 annual visitors with speech and communications-related disabilities, this new visual guide will be enormously valuable in enhancing their experience at the park.

Most Impactful

Aphasia Recovery Connection founders
Christine Huggins and David Dow

Aphasia Recovery Connection (ARC) was started in July 2012 by David Dow and Christine Huggins, two young stroke survivors with aphasia. ARC has quickly become the largest and fastest growing online support group for people with aphasia with a current membership of approximately 1,100 people. The group’s goal is to inspire those affected with aphasia, help them avoid isolation, educate the community and provide a support network for survivors and family. With more than one million people living with aphasia in the U.S., David and Christine hope to reach them all and both feel that their work has just began. Learn more about Aphasia Recovery Connection.

Outstanding Individual

Johan de Roos

Johan became a stroke survivor in 2006 at the age of 53. He has beaten the odds and re-learned how to talk, walk and drive despite no brain activity in his left hemisphere. His wife, Susan, has been his teammate during his climb to recovery. Together they lead an aphasia training for first responders in the Cincinnati area, support research and raise awareness about stroke. Johan is full of warmth and compassion and had been able to inspire other stroke survivors by sharing his story through personal connection.

Left: Johan at a speaking engagement.
Bottom right: Johan and his family at a Strike Out Stroke event.

Outstanding Group

Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp

The camp began with a vision of Marylee Nunley, who was affected by stroke when her husband John became a stroke survivor in 2001. Recognizing that stroke affects not just the survivors but also those around them, Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camps provide a camping experience for stroke survivors and their caregivers. The camps take place at different locations throughout the U.S. including a cruise! Over a three- or four-day weekend, participants benefit from relaxation, educational programs, socialization and ongoing support— making new friends and enjoying new opportunities. What began as a one-time event in 2004, has grown to almost 20 camps nationwide. Since its beginning, they have served over 2,000 participants. Learn more about Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp.

Most Impactful Community Fundraising Event

Valerie Goodwin and Lisa (Mitchell) Serio
Somers Walk for Stroke

The Somers Walk for Stroke is a 3-mile walk through the hills of Somers, NY. Organized by two sisters, Lisa Serio and Valerie Goodwin, impacted by their mother’s stroke four years ago, this event has been an inspiration to surrounding communities wanting to hold their own events. Their annual event participants have grown in number each year and, over the past three years, they have raised over $30,000. Somers Walk for Stroke not only raises money but also brings the entire community together to raise stroke awareness.

Somers Walk for Stroke

Outstanding Support Group

International Alliance for Pediatric Stroke

This award honors a stroke support group for making an innovative and robust impact on the lives of stroke survivors, caregivers and others impacted by stroke through connection, empowerment and education.

The International Alliance for Pediatric Stroke (IAPS) was established to facilitate collaboration among the many international pediatric stroke communities. Their purpose is to provide a stronger, more united voice to effectively advocate for newborns, babies, and children who have had a stroke. With research for pediatric stroke being typically under supported and underfunded, their mission is to provide information about pediatric stroke to families, caregivers, researchers, medical specialists and anyone else interested in this information. In addition, IAPS strives to fill the gaps in the areas of research and education of the general public. Learn more about the International Alliance for Pediatric Stroke.

Voter’s Choice

Alexis Burnett

Alexis is always looking for opportunities to promote stroke awareness. She enjoys her job of educating the public about stroke and taking care of stroke survivors. Her goal this year was to educate the community through song and video. She spent many evenings writing the lyrics and remixing them to a popular song, Everybody Talks by Neon Trees. Talking about serious topic like stroke can be difficult. Finding catchy and fun ways to get the message out can be challenging and Alexis was very creative in accomplishing that goal. North Hills Hospital’s Primary Stroke Program created an educational video to demonstrate to patients what happens to them at the hospital when they come in with stroke symptoms.