2016 RAISE Awards

2016 RAISE Award: Most Creative

NYU Lutheran Augustana Stroke Support Group

The NYU Lutheran Augustana Stroke Support Group uses art therapy interventions as its basis. Group members create individual and group art and murals during their sessions to explore their feelings surrounding their stroke recoveries. Some common directives used include “draw a picture of what hope looks like to you” or “make an image of yourself 10 years ago and an image of yourself today.” Some murals are less directed and are created by having the participants pass a large mural around the circle with each member adding different paint strokes, colors, and designs to create one large image. In doing these directives, participants are able to explore and discuss what the outcomes of their creation mean to them. More recently, many art pieces created in the group were displayed in the spring art show at NYU Augustana, allowing participants to feel empowered in their creativity. Even though some haven’t created art since childhood, they are utilizing many different forms of art media to express themselves and explore their inner emotions about their stroke, their recovery, and their lives.

2016 RAISE Award: Most Impactful

Austin Speech Labs

Austin Speech Labs was founded by two speech therapists who saw a gap between services covered by medical insurance and what stroke survivors truly need to return to their social and professional lives. They provide a supportive environment for their clients so that they can complete intensive, individualized speech therapy required for optimum stroke recovery. They want to help their clients regain their speech so they can express themselves to their families and loved ones, which Austin Speech Labs considers a basic human need. To support this need, Austin Speech Labs provides individualized intensive speech, language, and cognitive therapy to stroke survivors at a cost of $10 per hour, with over 30 percent of their clients receiving free therapy. Seeking to make the biggest impact possible, Austin Speech Labs has provided over 14,000 hours of intensive speech therapy to over 500 stroke survivors, and educated over 1,000 community members on strokes and neuroplasticity.

2016 RAISE Award: Outstanding Group

University of Colorado Hospital Stroke Program

The University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) has a small stroke team that has made a big impact, especially in the last year. This group has worked tirelessly to provide personalized education and attention to stroke patients and families, and reach their community through education and awareness activities. With a new team and leadership, the UCH Stroke Program has participated in community health events, revamped the stroke support group and stroke survivors group, and held their bi-annual implementation of the Lifelong Education and Advocacy Program (LEAP). This group regularly provides stroke lunch-and-learn opportunities to companies and their employees. They have also taken their awareness efforts to community events, like Strike Out Stroke and the Denver Broncos Health Fair. The UCH Stroke Program won’t overlook an a chance to educate people about stroke, even conducting EMS outreach, teaching Advanced Stroke Life Support®, conducting outreach to local religious centers, and connecting with people at countless other stroke education opportunities.

2016 RAISE Award: Outstanding Individual

Emily Lites

From a young age, Emily Lites’ life has been touched by stroke. While in utero, Emily’s little brother, Jude, suffered a massive bilateral stroke. At 10 years old, Emily started Emily’s Smile Boxes, a nonprofit organization that provides boxes of toys and activities for children and their siblings in the hospital.

Over the years, her stroke awareness efforts have grown, and she developed a pediatric stroke awareness 5K that takes place every September in honor of Jude. This year’s event drew hundreds of participants and was especially bittersweet, as Jude passed away earlier this year. Emily invited participants to wear their favorite superhero gear in his memory. The event is a culmination of countless hours of Emily’s hard work, and provides a great avenue for sharing information on how to detect a stroke, what people can do to prevent them, and survivor stories.

2016 RAISE Award: Most Impactful Community Fundraising Effort

Alicia Thompson

Following her father’s complete recovery from a ruptured aneurysm and hemorrhagic stroke, Alicia was inspired to take action. She decided to raise stroke awareness and give back to others impacted by stroke by forming a committee at her school to organize an awareness and fundraising event. After countless hours of hard work and collaboration, Dan’s Dash was created. Dan’s Dash, held May 14, 2016, included 1 and 3 mile runs, a walk, a bake sale, and promoted stroke awareness through social media, a website, poster, brochures, flyers, and school announcement. Through their National Stroke Association fundraising page, corporate sponsorships, and funds raised on the day of the event, Dan’s Dash raised nearly $6,000 for the National Stroke Association. It was such a great event, that Alicia has already taken steps to make Dan’s Dash happen again in 2017.

2016 RAISE Award: Outstanding Support Group

Mount Sinai STARS (Surviving and Thriving After Rehabilitation of Stroke)

The Mount Sinai STARS support group lives by the Charles R. Swindoll quote, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” By fully embracing this idea, they participate in adaptive programming — like swimming and dance classes — and serve as a positive outlet to overcome personal challenges. With education, passion, motivation, and determination to endure, they continue to do the things they love and experience new activities. This support group is always willing to advocate and empower themselves as stroke survivors, and welcomes new members as if they’re family. They often address a variety of topics, based on interest or focused on coping strategies, physical, cognitive, or emotional changes, and family dynamics. As they participate in discussions and activities, their self-esteem and independence grows, helping to foster further peer-to-peer support. Mount Sinai STARS’ determination and motivation keep their hearts and minds going, and ready to tackle new challenges.

2016 RAISE Award: Voter’s Choice

Jake Hulbert

Jake, now a teenager, has been involved in stroke awareness since his stroke at age 8. At 10 years old, he created an original video, “Darth Vader has a Stroke,” to bring awareness to stroke in a youthful, fun, and creative way. Over the years, his awareness efforts have included throwing out the first pitch at the season’s first major league baseball game for stroke awareness, partaking in talks about stroke at the capital, writing school papers, and creating an awareness video for social media. Jake exemplifies coming back strong after a stroke and works to raise stoke awareness for all ages.