Success Story: Strength After Stroke

Just 31 years old and a few weeks shy of running a marathon, Aimee from Blair, NE had a massive stroke that put her in a coma for a week and forced her to fight her way back to health, her husband, two young daughters, and her many students.

Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States is having a stroke. And every four minutes, a person actually dies from one. These staggering statistics are the impetus for May being named American Stroke Month. Quick recognition (and treatment) is key, and often on the shoulders of bystanders. If we can better recognize stroke symptoms, the leading cause of adult disability can be lessened!

Old, young, unfit or incredibly active: Anyone can have a stroke.

Anytime’s dedicated member Aimee is a prime example. She was very active, and had to fight her way back.

“For the first year, I suffered greatly from anxiety, depression and PTSD, and never imagined I would be strong enough, healthy enough or brave enough to step back into a gym! I had to learn some basics of daily life and eventually, exercise at Anytime Fitness became natural for me again!”

Some factors that put people like Aimee at risk for a stroke can’t be changed (age, heredity, race), but others can (high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, poor diet, inactivity). Do what you can to help yourself, and in order to assist future survivors like Aimee, the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association want us to watch body language and think F.A.S.T.Face Drooping, Arm Weakness & Speech Difficulty = Time to call 9-1-1.

If you see these signs, react quickly. Getting treatment within 3-4 ½ hours of a stroke can significantly reduce long term brain damage and improve chance of recovery.

Learn more about stroke risks, warning signs and inspiring stories at

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Kelly Fitzgerald has a BA in Journalism and MA in Creative Writing, and is the Managing Editor of the Anytime Fitness blog. She’s an avid reader, writer, and life-long learner who describes herself as a curious, sporty Twin Citian who is always observing, perpetually tired, and plagued by common sense.