2018 Raise Awards

Eighth Annual Raising Awareness In Stroke Excellence (RAISE) Awards

The Raising Awareness in Stroke Excellence (RAISE) Awards annually recognize individuals and groups from across the country for taking stroke awareness activities to new heights. Awards are given in several categories and recognize people engaged in community-level awareness activities directly supporting the National Stroke Association’s mission.

The eighth annual RAISE Award winners were announced on Nov. 2, 2018. Nine award winners were named, representing individuals and groups chosen from nearly 200 nominations. Watch and share the video of this year’s winners.

Most Creative:
Honors an individual or group using creativity and originality to spread the word about stroke
Most Impactful:
Honors an individual or group awareness activity that demonstrates proven improved patient or community outcomes
Outstanding Caregiver:
Honors an individual who has cared for a stroke survivor and used their experience to educate, inspire, and bring awareness to stroke on a local or national level
Outstanding Individual:
Honors an individual making a commitment to raising stroke awareness on a local or national level
Outstanding Group:
Honors a group of people making a commitment to raising stroke awareness on a local or national level
Outstanding Fundraising Effort:
Honors an individual or group making a unique and impactful effort to raise stroke awareness and funds for the National Stroke Association
Outstanding Stroke Survivor:
Honors an individual who has survived a stroke and used their experience to educate, inspire, and bring awareness to stroke on a local or national level
Outstanding Support Group:
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
Voter’s Choice:
This award honors an individual or group representing the best effort in raising stroke awareness. The nominees for this category are selected by our judges and the winner will be chosen in October through online voting

The 2018 RAISE Awards cycle includes:

Nomination Period: July 2, 2018 through August 31, 2018

Judging: September 2018

Voter’s Choice: October 22 – 29, 2018

Winners Announced: November 2, 2018

Most Creative

Michael Ang, OTD, OTR/L


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Most Impactful

ABC Brigade


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Outstanding Caregiver

Charlene Hayward


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Outstanding Fundraising Effort

Diane Jelke


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Outstanding Group

Triangle Aphasia Project Unlimited


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Outstanding Individual

Kimon Bekelis, MD


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Outstanding Stroke Survivor

Joe Charles


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Outstanding Support Group

Pediatric Stroke Warriors


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Voter’s Choice

St. Anthony Hospital Stroke Support Group


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Where are they now?

Joe Romanesco – Most Impactful Community Fundraising Event, 2012

Since receiving his RAISE award in 2012, Joe Romanesco is busier than ever! He volunteers as a peer mentor for patients, runs a stroke support group, and volunteers as a care minister for his local church. Joe had a bike made for him so that he can bike with one hand. In 2014, he was able to use equipment that made it possible for him to downhill ski for the first time since his stroke!

Aphasia Lunch Bunch – Outstanding Support Group, 2012

In order to grow as a group and to have a bigger reach, the group partnered with the City of Henderson, Nevada to hold even more community groups and events to raise awareness for aphasia. Their new activities include evening bonfires and antique shows. In the future they are planning to add more interactive activities, such as outdoor walks and bingo.

Tom Watson – Outstanding Individual, 2011

A large part of Tom Watson’s emotional healing came in creating and sharing his art. He continues to create art as well as a T-shirt line inspired by his stroke experience. Tom uses his exhibitions and receptions as an opportunity to educate people about stroke, including the fact that it can happen to anyone at any age. Since his award, Tom was invited to a Stroke Forum held for health care professionals to speak and show his art.

View Winners: