October 2, 2008

Stroke Survivors’ Support Group Gains Momentum, Members

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., Oct. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Entering the second year of a successful strategic partnership, the American Stroke Association (a division of the American Heart Association) and the Alexian Brothers Hospital Network have joined forces to support a statewide network of stroke survivors and those who care for them. Stroke Survivors Empowering Each Other (SSEEO) is the only initiative of its kind. Founded in 2004 by just five stroke survivors, the grassroots group has grown considerably, and is now comprised of hundreds of survivors and caregivers. The group provides a variety of previously unavailable resources for those impacted by stroke, including advocacy, education, and awareness programs.

On Saturday, October 4, 2008, stroke survivors and caregivers from across Illinois will gather in Hoffman Estates for the group's largest meeting to date as the American Stroke Association and the Alexian Brothers Hospital Network play hosts to SSEEO's annual stroke conference at St. Alexius Medical Center, 1555 Barrington Road, Hoffman Estates. The day-long event will include a keynote presentation from Dr. David Brown of Northwestern University's Stroke Research and Rehabilitation Program followed by panel discussions on new stroke therapies including post-stroke rehabilitation utilizing the Nintendo Wii gaming system, Botox therapy, the latest on Aphasia Research, and robotic-assisted stroke therapy. The conference will conclude with a session by State Representative Bob Biggins (41st) who will be joined by several stroke survivors to talk about advocacy and stroke legislation.

Among those in attendance at the annual conference will be Lisa Spiess and her daughter Rachael, 24, of Anna, Illinois. Rachael, an active athlete throughout school suffered an ischemic stroke two years ago as a result of a pre-existing cardiac condition. "After Rachael's stroke we felt so isolated," said Spiess. "As a parent you think that this can only be happening to you. Rachael had to learn to walk, talk, read, write, and eat all over again. Everything and everyone is affected by a stroke." The Spiess family is looking forward to attending the conference and participating in SSEEO. "Just being with and talking to others who can relate to what we are going through will be a great comfort to us."

Stroke strikes about 700,000 Americans each year, and with growing numbers of survivors because of advances in stroke treatment, the need for stroke education and support services is increasing. No one knows this better than Mickey Clancy, 53, of Lombard, Illinois. Clancy suffered a stroke nearly eleven years ago. As one of the original founders of SSEEO, she still recalls her disbelief when she was told she'd had a stroke. After waking and realizing she may be having a stroke, a hospital ER nurse questioned Ms. Clancy as to why she thought she was having a stroke, and how someone like herself at age 41 could have possibly known the symptoms of a stroke. "Like other survivors, I learned a lot quickly after my stroke," says Clancy. "We have come a long way, but there is so much more to accomplish. We formed SSEEO with the sole intent to educate, inform, and make resources more readily available for survivors and caregivers."

Throughout the first year of the partnership between the American Stroke Association and Alexian Brothers, the collaboration has helped SSEEO launch a monthly telephone stroke support group in which survivors and caregivers can call in to listen and ask questions of guest speakers on topics of importance to stroke survivors and their caregivers. In addition, the organization has launched a new website, http://www.sseeo.org/.

For more information on SSEEO and the upcoming conference visit: http://www.sseeo.org/, or call 800-677-5481 ext. 7438.

Alexian Brothers Hospital Network

CONTACT: Matt Wakely of Alexian Brothers Hospital Network,+1-847-385-7176

Web site: http://www.alexianbrothershealth.org/http://www.sseeo.org/