After a medical trauma like stroke, survival is job one. Job two is working to regain as many and as much of former capabilities as possible. But there is another less visible and sometimes even more challenging aspect of recovery — the emotional journey to rebuild identities and rewarding lives. Survivors with ongoing disabilities often face dramatic changes to their lives and opportunities — relationships with family and friends, work and income, activities and hobbies, and more. Even survivors who recover all, or virtually all, of their capabilities often say they are “a different person” after a stroke. Their identities are often shaken, if not shattered. They are faced with what can be overwhelming and even paralyzing questions: Who am I now? How do I move forward with my life?
Stroke Onward was founded by Debra Meyerson and Steve Zuckerman, stroke survivor and carepartner respectively, because they personally experienced the importance of this emotional journey in recovery, and the lack of resources to support it. They heard similar frustration from almost everyone they spoke with. By pursuing its mission, Stroke Onward hopes to help create a stroke care system that focuses on the whole person – one where survivors and families are just as supported on their emotional journey in recovery as they are on the also critical journey of physical health and rehabilitation.