Support group provides strength for stroke survivors, caretakers

Published: May. 23, 2023 at 6:51 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - May is Stroke Awareness Month, and we want to tell you about a special group in Sioux Falls.

They meet once a month to share their stories of what it takes to survive a stroke while figuring out what their “new normal” looks like after going through this life-changing event.

Every 30 days or so, 30 stroke survivors from the Sioux Falls area come together — along with their caregivers — to lean on each other.

“We have people who have survived stroke for 20 years or two weeks that come for support in this group,” said Jill Rye.

Jill Rye with Avera McKennan is one of the leaders of the Sioux Empire Stroke Support Group, which is actually a joint venture between Avera and Sanford.

“Stroke survivors are tremendously resilient people, and they want to learn as much as they can about their stroke,” said Rye.

Bard Brown knows what it’s like to survive a stroke. He’s done it twice and credits this group with helping him bounce back each time.

“I would say it’s the people. You come to a group like this, and they all have the same problem,” said Brown.

Rye said that while strokes affect every individual differently, there are some common threads that bind all of them together, and that comes in the form of the information they need to navigate their lives after one happens.

“The signs and symptoms of a stroke, how to stay active as you age with stroke, how can you successfully age after having a stroke?” said Rye.

Part of Bard Brown’s successful recovery from his two strokes has involved the care of his wife, Patty.

“Every time we come here, we learn something. We hope we share something that someone else can take away,” said Brown.

And it’s that giving and taking of information that can help smooth the way on a road that by definition is rough.

“You just have to keep healing, and you have to keep stepping forward,” said Brown. “A lot of people die because of it, so try and do the best you can to stay healthy.”