2018 RAISE Award: Most Impactful

ABC Brigade, Missouri

Imagine a coffee house designed for stroke survivors with aphasia. That’s what Coffee-Café-sia is at two St. Louis hospitals where the ABC Brigade comes together to make social connections and start living life again post-stroke. What started out as a handful of people has grown to up to 50 participants each week. There’s even a separate room where caregivers meet for support and friendship.

But that’s not all the ABC Brigade does. Each month the Aphasia Brigade Chorus meets at a local university where speech therapy students volunteer. The Brigade also held a Stroke Symposium for law enforcement officers to give them a better understanding of stroke.

For seven years the ABC Brigade has hosted Stampede for Stroke—a 5K walk/run which started out with 200 participants, including 25 stroke survivors, and has grown to 700 participants, including 100 stroke survivors. It has become the Stroke Survivor Olympics and is supported by Dawn Harper Nelson, an Olympian track and field star, who attends as a guest each year. Survivors in wheelchairs participate alongside recent stroke survivors who walk a few feet, while other survivors run the 5K on a highly charged, emotional day.