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Stroke Survivor Story

On September 6, 2011, Kirk Disrude, a 38-year old wrestling and badminton coach and Physical Education teacher at Maine East and South high schools, got up for work. But his morning routine, and his life, was instantly disrupted.

“It felt like a rubber-band snapped in my brain and I immediately lost my balance and fell. I couldn’t focus on any one thing—the room up at an angle. I kept thinking, ‘This has to go away—I can’t be late for school.’ My last memory is calling out for Beth,” said Disrude.

His wife, Beth—20 weeks pregnant with their first child—was frightened, but reacted quickly. Her job as the office manager of a medical practice helped. “I asked him to smile, knowing that a stroke tends to effect one side of the body. His speech and smile were both fine. I figured he had vertigo or a migraine. The next thing I knew Kirk was throwing up and his skin turned white—almost gray. I had to get him to the emergency room. By the time I got him downstairs, he said his right leg felt like it wasn't working.”

Beth drove Kirk to nearby Advocate Condell Medical Center, where tests revealed a blood clot in his brain. Kirk had a stroke at age 38.

But thanks to the experts at Advocate Condell’s Primary Stroke Center, today Kirk is training for the Chicago Marathon and is the proud father of a baby boy. 

“I have two big reasons to stay motivated. I am going to run the Marathon for everyone whose lives have been impacted by a stroke. Stroke survivors are left with a varying range of abilities. I have learned how to live in a new body, to process life through a new mind, to be a new version of myself.” 

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