The Online Newsletter of Stroke Life Society

"United In Pursuit Of Living And Helping Others"
March 2013
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Americanism Award For Unsung Heroine.......

A highly successful aspect of Stroke Life Society is our Recycled Medical Equipment and Supplies Program. All too often, unwanted medical equipment and supplies are just thrown away. In an effort to provide these items to others who could use them, this program accepts and solely relies on gift-in-kind donations. Darleen Schauder, our Co-Founder and President, was honored by the Levittown American Legion Post 1711 at their Americanism Award Ceremony on March 1st for her work within our communities helping those in need.  In a touching ceremony, the Officers and Members presented Darleen with a plaque inscribed "The Equipment That You Provide Gives Hope To Those On The Road To Recovery.  In The Dark Times You Are The Light For Many". Darleen also received recognition from County Executive, Ed Mangano; Town Supervisor, Kate Murray and Nassau County Legislator, Dennis Dunne Sr..

We Take Our Message To Stony Brook.........


Stroke Life Society will take part in several events Stony Brook University Hospital has scheduled for May which is Stroke Awareness Month.  Our Co-Founder, stroke survivor Ben Thomas, has been invited to speak at Stony Brook's Annual Neuroscience Conference on May 2nd.  Ben will be speaking as co-founder but also as a stroke survivor.  This will be a wonderful interface between the Medical Profession and the realities of post-stroke life - straight from the horse's mouth!  Ben will also be a presenter at one of their Community Service Events on May 29th.      

Know The Facts:
Controllable Risk Factors:
- High Blood Pressure
- Atrial Fibrillation
- High Cholesterol
- Diabetes
- Atherosclerosis
- Circulation Problems
Controllable Lifestyle Risk Factors:
- Tobacco Use and Smoking
- Alcohol Use
- Physical Inactivity
- Obesity

Uncontrollable Risk Factors:
- Age (over 55)
- Gender (males are at higher risk)
- Race (African Americans, Hispanics and Asian/ Pacific Islanders are at higher risk)
- Family History of stroke or TIA's


If given within three hours of the first symptom, there is an FDA-approved clot-buster medication (tpa) that may reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke. There are also two other types of stroke treatment available that might help reduce the effects of stroke.

Stroke Symptoms Include:

  • SUDDEN numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg - especially on one side of the body.
  • SUDDEN confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  • SUDDEN trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • SUDDEN trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
  • SUDDEN severe headache with no known cause.  

Call 9-1-1 immediately if you have any of these symptoms

* The above information is provided by the National Stroke Association
And Our Stones .......................


It appears that word of our stepping stones to recovery has spread as we are invited by Stony Brook University Hospital to moderate a monthly stroke support group every last Tuesday at 7pm. We commenced this great partnership on March 26th 2013.  Please add this regular date to your calendar.
Click here for current meeting schedule

You Bet You'll Laugh At This..........

As we shake off the winter chill, we eagerly anticipate our program of social and fund- raising events. For those in doubt, the group trip to Atlantic City is a fundraiser for the casinos, not for Stroke Life Society. Thankfully, the reverse is the case on Thursday, May 9th with our spring Comedy Night Fundraiser at Governor's Comedy Club in Levittown, NY.  Please join us for a night of Fun and Laughter.  Our headliner will once again be Chris Monty, voted Long Island's Best Comedian 2013.  Click here for more information and to purchase your tickets.  Hope to see you there!

Also in the pipeline for 2013 is another in the ever-popular series of fishing trips, and for the first time a mega-garden party on select Shelter Island.

Stormy Meeting....................

Our new regular support group venue in Queens had an inauspicious start. The inaugural meeting in Bellerose coincided with the winter's most severe snowstorm in the north-east. The meeting wasn't cancelled - stroke survivors are made of sterner stuff, citing "excuses" for attending such as "I used to live in Maine, you know". Thanks to local advertising, we even expanded our membership on that stormy day, with further additions the following month. The Queens' support group meets monthly on the second Wednesday at 1:30pm, St Gregory the Great, Bellerose, NY.
 Click here to see our current meeting schedule


The monthly guest speaker meeting at Hicksville has a full and varied program through to the summer break, fielding topics as varied as EMS, a Special Needs/Long Term Care Workshop and more on Orthotics, 'Rehab 'n' Braces'. Already under our belt this year were an airing of Risk Factors, Strategies for Wellness and a live Q&A session by the author of many of our website's Q&A responses, Dr. Libman. We are so grateful to the good doctor for providing the 35 Stroke Life attendees with direct and unequivocal answers to a multitude of questions pertinent to stroke. We greatly look forward to a repeat 'performance'.


Survivor Spotlight.........................
A Survivor's Story - Dennis Foley 

The March Spotlight shines this St Patrick's season on Stroke Life survivor Dennis Foley, "Uncle Dennis" to a multitude of Irish American nephews and nieces. He was born and bred in Hicksville, the youngest child of four. "I had great parents, great siblings, grandparents and other relatives including an Irish step-grandmother who was my mother's best friend." Dennis emerged from this secure cocoon but still occupies his childhood home; nevertheless he has travelled. As a descendant of the
Foghladha (Foley) family of pirates and marauders from the Waterford area of Munster, Dennis can boast of kissing the Blarney stone during a 1990's visit to the Emerald Isle with brother Kevin and aunt Kathleen. His one regret was the inability to sample "Liffey Water" (Guinness) in the course of his tour - alcohol and phenobarbital just don't mix!

Dennis was diagnosed with an operable brain tumor thirty years' ago, at the age of only twenty-two (hence the phenobarbital). Surgery was undertaken on his birthday, 9th February, to remove most of the tumor; subsequent radiation therapy did a tidy job of continuing his headaches, removing most of his hair and affecting his hearing. Dennis says the neuropathy from radiation had significant adverse effects.

The tumor was on the left side meaning his memory is less than perfect (welcome to the club, ed.) but in spite of this "Uncle Dennis" resumed his career in credit collections, a career which deserted him with the fall of Wamu (Washington Mutual) in 2007. What then ensued - all too briefly - was the happiest 4 years of Dennis' working life. Being a person who so much enjoys helping and talking to people, having his own life insurance business was made-to-measure for our gregarious Uncle.

Dennis has a wonderful philosophy. In spite of every curved ball life has to throw at him, he doesn't want to stop; he's constantly motivated to keep going. Now just half way through his life (he is determined to reach the age of 102) this motivation became embedded when he vowed to survive brain surgery to see his nephew Sean born. It also helped him to survive a stroke in 2011, again in the eventful month of February, which curtailed his career.

In the course of a business meeting in Melville, Dennis felt a certain numbness to his left arm and leg. He constantly found himself walking into walls, and his speech was affected. A colleague called his sister Maureen (she is a nurse) to advise her that something was wrong with her brother. By good fortune Dennis drove home safely and was met upon his arrival by Maureen and nephew Danny. He was taken to Plainview hospital under protest and passed the night in the ER undergoing the ritual of scans and other tests. An ischemic stroke was diagnosed, possibly as a consequence of radiation therapy, he was told, but our patient was too late for tpa.  The following day left-sided weakness had progressed to immobility and he constantly sought assurance that he was speaking clearly, which he was not. A couple of days later, Maureen arranged for her brother to be transferred to Mercy hospital for 2-3 weeks rehab. Still unable to walk unaided, Dennis received nursing care upon arrival at home and succeeded in 'losing' his walker during 4 weeks' physical therapy. He now uses a cane as a little bit of 'life insurance'!

"Uncle Dennis' " self-motivation ethic switched itself into gear at this time. Somehow he knew he'd be able to compensate for the effects of the stroke because of his experience with the brain tumor. Asking his battery of medical and neurology attendings what he had to do to get better, he became motivated to follow instructions. Lapses are quite simply not on the agenda, for if he slips-up, there is a strict Irish nurse (sister Maureen) to knock him into shape!

In the main Dennis looks after himself: cooking, house and yard work are in his line of expertise, all under the supervision of Maureen whose culinary offerings are frequently savored by her brother. "Uncle Dennis" greatly appreciates the support of his extended family and enjoys their gatherings immensely. This support has helped to change Dennis' life; seeing his post-stroke brother was becoming a little too inactive, brother Brian discovered Stroke Life Society on the internet. Attending his first meeting at St Frances de Chantal, Wantagh shortly after the completion of formal rehab, Dennis had the good fortune to be welcomed by Sandy Gerber and Lou Macolino. This jovial duo subsequently became his golfing buddies at Bethpage.

Dennis is now a major supporter of Stroke Life and attends almost all the meetings. He is so happy that Brian prompted him to check it out as it is now such an important part of his life. Firstly he feels that he has much to offer recent stroke survivors both on outreach and within the support groups. Secondly  as an avid golfer he is participating in the Stroke Life Golf Challenge. Another aspect of his golfing interest has served Dennis for over 20 years: when he remembers how to do it, he assembles golf clubs in his basement workshop. As with the support groups, this activity is also highly therapeutic.

Finally, "Uncle Dennis" shares his home with two adorable sisters - his Bengal look-alike cats. Appropriately for a golf fanatic one of them, 'Daisy', has the very definite appearance of a 'Tiger'!  

"If spring came but once a century instead of once a year, or burst forth with the sound of an earthquake and not in silence, what wonder and expectation there would be in all hearts to behold the miraculous change."

              ~ Henry Wadsworth  Longfellow

In This Issue
Americanism Award For Unsung Heroine
We Take Our Message To Stony Brook
Know The Facts
And Our Stones
You Bet You'll Laugh At This
Stormy Meeting
Survivor Spotlight
Featured Quote
Support Group Locations
Guest Speaker Schedule
Prayer Requests
Featured Quote....

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts"
        ~Winston Churchill 

Stroke Life Society Support Group Meeting Locations:

Nassau County:
Hicksville, NY
Levittown, NY
Plainview, NY
Seaford, NY
Wantagh, NY

Suffolk County:

East Setauket, NY
West Islip, NY

Bellerose, NY
Click here for current meeting schedule


Guest Speakers will be giving presentations on stroke related topics at our Hicksville location every fourth Wednesday of each month at 1pm
William Bennet Community Center
28 Carl Street
Hicksville, NY 11801
All are Welcome!
 Click here for Guest Speaker schedule and topics

 dancing smiley   

Join us every Friday for our weekly stroll.


 Because of Hurricane Sandy, we will be walking at Eisenhower Park until the boardwalk is repaired and we can return to Jones Beach.


11am at Eisenhower Park Driving Range


Don't forget your sunscreen!




Here's one for the record books. The January 18th
afternoon support group at St Bernard's, Levittown was attended by thirty-seven, YES, thirty-seven members. The theory that the Irish soda bread is attracting them will surely be further evaluated at the support group meeting two days before St Patrick's Day!




Ironically there was no soda bread at the St Patrick's meeting as our "Master" baker was conspicuous by her absence. In the tradition of Marie Antoinette, we made-do with cake - farewell cake that is for member of long-standing Sandy Gerber who relocates to a warmer climate. It is Sandy's intention to sow the Stroke Life seed in south Florida;
we wish him well.

Let's pray for each other.

  Click here to view all prayer requests

Click here to submit your prayer request

Mother Teresa Quote