Having a baby is one of the most joyful moments in the world. In the spring of 2020, Becca was basking in the glow of her sweet newborn, Bobby. But just seven weeks after he was born, Becca suffered a massive ischemic stroke. “I was a stay-at-home mom working part-time for a very small, nonprofit preschool,” explained Becca. “I was doing accounting and payroll, parent/teacher communication, etc. Now, I can’t even put together a spread sheet.”
Becca, who has two other young children, adopted a growth mindset and was determined to learn from the stroke and continue to grow. She worked incredibly hard through rehabilitation and pushed herself each and every day. She moved from a wheelchair to standing to learning to walk to strength training. Now, she jokes that her main limitation is her imagination. Just two years after her stroke she said, “I am thankfully back to a lot of the mundane things I used to take for granted – getting out of bed, walking by myself without a babysitter, helping to take care of the kids, driving myself, working out with a personal trainer for strength training and physical therapy, water aerobics and CrossFit. I feel like I’m in a better place. I’m no longer in full-on survival mode.”
After her first year of recovery, she wanted to celebrate so she and her friends organized a small fundraiser centered around a one mile Stroke Walk. They raised a little over a thousand dollars and began searching for an organization to donate it to. That’s when she found BELIEVE – Stroke Recovery Foundation (BSRF). Becca’s generous donation helped fund continued rehabilitation for other stroke warriors, like her.
But like most stroke survivors, Becca’s insurance coverage for her own rehabilitation had run out. Her insurance covered just 30 total therapy visits, not nearly enough to regain the strength and quality of life that she deserved. That’s when the tables turned. The Co-Founders of BSRF, Michael and Jennifer Erwin, decided to surprise Becca with a grant to help her continue her own therapy.
“If I hadn’t received the grant, my therapy and added quality of life exercise would have to come out-of-pocket,” expressed Becca. “But we were, and still are, in debt to hospitals for remaining medical bills, so the very generous grant lifted a heavy financial burden for me and my family. It meant I could continue getting stronger through therapy without added financial pressure on my husband, who is our sole income provider.”
Becca explained that lifting the financial burden for stroke warriors can empower them to get out in the world, try new things and get back to being an important contributor to their families and community. And that’s certainly what it’s done for her.
“Thank you, BSRF, for being a light in the dark when I needed you the most.”
Becca is continuing to improve and works hard at strength training four times a week. She wants to use her story and all she’s learned through recovery to be a voice and advocate for other survivors. Though she’s grateful for the focus on life-saving measures and prevention around stroke, she feels more needs to be done to raise awareness about the needed quality of life measures post-stroke. Becca encourages people to listen to stroke survivors to understand, rather than to respond. “Instead of telling people to ‘stay positive,’ we should say, ‘how can I support you?’.” And she’s absolutely right.
If you’re inspired by Becca’s story and you want to support a stroke warrior, like her, donate today: