Strides for Stroke walk goes virtual to continue support of stroke survivors amid COVID-19

Strides for Stroke will be held virtually this summer amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic has affected a lot of nonprofits. Fundraising events that usually take place in the spring have all been upended. Most are going on, but in a different fashion.

The Strides for Stroke walk is going virtual like so many other events. The pandemic may have stopped life as normal, but stroke still happens.

She never fit the risk profile for stroke, but it happened to 27-year-old Courtney Bevans while on the job as a hospital nurse a year and a half ago.

“A couple of hours into work, I had a very intense pain in the back of my head,” she said.

She was hemorrhaging from a burst blood vessel. Her fellow nurses knew she needed help - fast.

“Within probably five to ten minutes, I was taken to the emergency room at the St. Cloud Hospital and was intubated and brought down for surgery,” said Bevans.

It was all a puzzle. Bevans is young, fit, and has no family history of stroke.

“I know we try to educate a lot on the fast symptoms, the facial droop the arms, speech and I didn’t have those,” she said.  

Recovery took six months. It included short time in a gyro machine, which appears as if it was made for astronauts. It helped with her physical recovery. The Minnesota Stroke Association helped with her emotional recovery.

“There is such a feeling of being alone,” said Bevans. “And when you’re going through all of this, you can think that you can’t relate to anybody and they have allowed me think that it’s OK that this happened to you and you can talk about it.”

That’s where the Strides for Stroke walk comes in. It raises money to support stroke victims, but the walk on May 16 is going virtual this year to accommodate safety issues with the coronavirus.

“Walk. Take a walk and send us some photos, send us some videos so that we can share this on social media, so that anyone deals with stroke and is affected by stroke can see our stroke community is still strong, compassionate, still powerful and we are still all here for each other,” said Brad Donaldson of the Minnesota Stroke Association.

It may be different this year, but stroke survivors, such as Bevans, say it’s more important than ever.

“I know there is a lot of other things going on in the world, but it is important to still remember where you’ve been, what you’ve gone through,” said Bevans.

To sign up for the Strides for Stroke, click here