Toni is a stroke survivor and American Heart Association volunteer. Toni shared her story as part of a video series produced for American Stroke Month by Together to End Stroke national sponsor, Bayer Aspirin. Here, she shares her thoughts on what making the video meant to her.
Ever since my stroke in 2017, I have been sharing my journey on social media. From that time on, there have been friends of mine, who were able to save their own lives, or the life of a loved one. The reason they were so in tune with the signs and symptoms of a stroke, is because I preached every day. These wonderful people were truly listening to me, and I couldn't be any prouder of them. Some people think on social media, that individuals "stretch the truth" or are not who they say they are. As for me, I AM as real as they come. Along my stroke journey, I have shared every follow-up doctors’ appointment, bloodwork results and my first winter cold as a stroke survivor. I even shared every little ache, pain or sniffle I had, because as a stroke survivor, these ailments that may seem petty to others, can be frightening for us.
The feedback I receive back from social media is very positive. One of my dear friends always reminds me that, "If it weren't for you sharing your journey, my husband would not be here, as I would have never known what signs to look for." Another dear friend from high school, suffered a stroke at work. When she wrote to me and told me I was the first person she thought of, I cried.
These comments always make me emotional. To think that I made a difference in someone's life, always makes me tear up. That's why, when I was asked to do a video for the American Stroke Association, I was so grateful. I thought to myself, if I am changing lives in my own community of friends and family, imagine how many people I can reach on a worldwide scale! The entire experience was nothing short of amazing! From the moment the film team arrived at our home, until the time they left, was an experience I will never forget. Making the video came natural to me, no scripts, just my journey in the raw for the entire world to hear. Every single person involved made that day so special. I hope to someday become the voice of a stroke survivor on a larger scale. I want to be that person who changes lives, one story at a time.
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