Aimee Rogers-Minarich - Speak Out
Aimee Rogers-Minarich is a dance teacher from Newfield, NJ who was recently crowned “Elite Spirit of the USA” with a pageant platform of stroke awareness. She is also a survivor ambassador for the American Heart Association in South Jersey. She writes about her journey of stroke recovery in recognition of National Rehabilitation Awareness Week.
My name is Aimee Rogers-Minarich. At the age of 23 I suffered a stroke. The recovery was and is a long process. I would like to share part of my story. Seventeen years ago at the age of 23 I had a stroke. At that point in my life, I was living the dream. I had just graduated college and I was in my fourth year of owning a dance studio that was growing in leaps and bounds. The strange thing was, that I was totally healthy. I ate right, my numbers were good, and I was extremely active. However, there was a small hole in the upper chambers of my heart that nobody knew about even myself. A clot was formed somewhere in my body, it went through the small hole, and then to my brain.
I had no physical side effects but I did and still do have aphasia. Because of this my self-confidence was lost, I was depressed, and I didn't even want to try to communicate with people except those I knew best. Throughout the last seventeen years, I have been recovering a little at a time.
I decided some time ago that I wanted to help other stroke survivors find themselves again so I decided to start to speak about stroke awareness and prevention. With much surprise on July 27th, 2019 I was crowned "Elite Spirit of the USA" through the Spirit pageant organization. Competing in a pageant was completely out of my comfort zone but I wanted to do more. I was looking for an opportunity for more doors to open for me to speak about strokes so I decided to jump in feet first and compete. My platform is "Stroke Awareness and Prevention" and I'm truly grateful to the American Heart Association and the Spirit Pageant for giving me the opportunity to speak about my cause. I'm using my title as a speaking tool and I will forever be grateful. I love sharing my story and I am hoping that I can help those that are most in need. Those that struggle with their confidence, spirit, and self-worth.
Although it has been seventeen years I still struggle with these but I'm grateful to be alive and my perspective of life has definitely changed. I continue to fight to be a better person and to become a better version of myself. My fight has given me a new purpose and I hope to continue to work with other stroke survivors to help them find their purpose in life whether it's been lost or not. Having a stroke is an event that is frightening in every way but it has taught me to be a survivor in every aspect of the word.
To all of the other stroke survivors, you have a great spirit and a true purpose. Speak, mentor, and educate about our cause and you could make a difference in a person's life when they need it the most.