Episode 056 -- Thoughts on Luke Perry and Stroke

This week, we learned about the tragic death of Luke Perry. He suffered a stroke at age 52 and did not survive. This sparked comments across social media that many of us have had to address only in personal conversations before. Namely:

"I thought you had to be old to have a stroke!"

Those of us who spend a lot of time dealing with and thinking about stroke know that is completely untrue. But most folks are not part of our community, and it takes a major celebrity death to really get people to think about it.

My hope is that some good can come from this. If Luke Perry's death inspires more folks to check and know their risk factors, that's a good thing. If it encourages more folks to know the BEFAST warning signs of stroke, that is also a good thing.

Stroke symptom graphic

There's the potential for Luke Perry's death to save the lives of hundreds or thousands of other people by driving increased awareness and response to stroke and its causes.

How Can You Help?

Media attention can be fleeting so now is the time to take action.

Are you involved with a school, community, civic, or religious organization that brings in speakers? Ask them to invite a stroke survivor or medical professional to talk to the group about their story and share more info on stroke recognition and prevention. 

If you don't know anyone personally who can speak, reach out. If your group meets in the Puget Sound area of Western Washington, let me know and I'll be happy to talk to your group or connect you with someone else who can.

In other areas, reach out to your local chapter of the American Heart Association. They can help. Or search through Facebook forums or Twitter hashtags (like #stroke or #stroke survivor). Or contact your local hospital and ask them if they know of someone

Do you want to share your story? Reach out to groups or schools who may want a speaker. Contact the American Heart Association or your country's equivalent, and let them know. Start a podcast, YouTube channel, Instagram account or build your own stage another way. Reach out to other stroke survivor podcasters who may be looking for guests, like Cam at the Hand in Hand Show or Joe at NeuroNerds. Or me here.

Distribute and promote the BEFAST warning signs.

The point is, now is the time to talk about it.

Hack of the Week

I keep an umbrella stand near the door, but I don't fill it with umbrellas. We're not big umbrella people here in Seattle. Plus, the hand I would use to hold an umbrella is busy holding my cane. And my girlfriend won't let me be seen in public wearing a head-mounted umbrella. Which is probably a good call.

That's why my umbrella stand is filled with canes. It's a great way to store them. I can grab a different one as I head out the door, depending on my mood, goals, and wardrobe that day. And when I'm not using one, I keep it safely out of the way.

Program Note

There will not be a new episode next week (2019-03-15) because I'll be out of town on my 7th JoCo Cruise. I'd rather not rush the post production on that episode so I'm taking next week off. 

The next episode of Strokecast will go live on Friday, March 22. lt will feature Gianna Rojas -- the One Handed Lady Golfer talking about how she helps stroke survivors get back on the golf course and reconnect with their passion for the game.


Where do we go from here?

  • What are your thoughts on celebrity deaths and stroke? Let us know in the comments below.
  • Share the warning signs and risk factors for stroke far and wide.
  • Encourage folks to learn more about stroke by visiting Strokecast.com or the American Heart Association.
  • Don't get best...get better


Strokecast is the stroke podcast where a Gen X stroke survivor explores rehab, recovery, the frontiers of neuroscience and one-handed banana peeling by helping stroke survivors, caregivers, medical providers and stroke industry affiliates connect and share their stories.

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast

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