Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Stride Against Stroke

Friends:

On the morning of November 13, 2005, I will line up for the Harrisburg Marathon in Harrisburg, PA, marking the end of more than 6 months of planning and preparation.

I've quickly learned in the past 16 weeks and 300 miles of training that running a marathon is an oddly selfish thing. It can not be done without the patience and assistance of loved ones while you spend an additional 5 hours or so a week literally running all over the place. To make these hours and miles of training less selfish, I am raising money to support stroke rehabilitation programs at Gaylord Hospital in Wallingford, CT.

On November 21, 1987, my grandfather Russell Sullivan's life was changed forever in the course of 5 minutes. While preparing to go to 5PM mass on a cold Saturday, he suffered a massive stroke. While he survived, he would never fully recover. Paralyzed on the right side, he would never be able to get himself out of bed or live at home again. Perhaps even more difficult, the stroke affected the part of his brain that controlled speech. While fully formed thoughts pooled in his head, they became trapped, making communication difficult, frustrating him and us. Caring for my grandfather became a way of life for our extended family for the rest of his life, and we were thankful for the nearly 6 years that he lived following his stroke.

Now, 18 years later, stroke continues to impact thousand of families in the United States. According to the American Stroke Association, approximately 700,000 Americans each year suffer a new or recurrent stroke, 1 every 45 seconds. While stroke is the 3rd leading cause of death in the US, more than 75% of stroke victims survive. Victims of stroke often experience paralysis or weakness in one side of the body, impaired ability to understand speech, impaired ability to speak, and memory loss.

For these victims, quality care in the early period following the stroke can make the difference in returning to a normal life and resuming careers and hobbies. For more than 30 years, Gaylord Hospital has been a leader in stroke care for thousands of patients including my grandfather.

I am lucky to have a loving and generous family and to know and work with compassionate and generous people around the world. Please support me on this journey with a donation to support rehabilitation programs for stroke victims.

I am doing this with the help of my family and friends only. Formal fundraising and training programs, while valuable and rewarding, use up to 30% of all proceeds to fund travel, coaching, uniforms and other program expenses. All of the money raised here, 100%, will be donated on your behalf to Gaylord Hospital's stroke rehabilitation program in memory of my grandfather, Russell J. Sullivan or a person you know whose life was impacted by stroke.

If you are willing to join me on this journey please e-mail me at sullysstuff@gmail.com. I will provide you with a postage-paid, business reply envelope for your donation. In order to ensure the tax-deductibility of your donation, please be sure to make your check out to Gaylord Hospital.

I am confident that with your support, the amount of money we raise will exceed our highest expectations. I will keep you posted on my training progress and provide occasional information about stroke on my weblog, Sully's Stuff ( http://sullysstuff.blogspot.com/). In the coming months, I look forward to talking with you and hope that many of you will join me in celebrating our accomplishment after the race!

Thank you,
Justin Sullivan

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