Recovering From Stroke, Ex-Stanford Professor is Halfway Across America, Riding to Raise Awareness for Stroke and Aphasia

PORTOLA VALLEY, Calif., July 25, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- For the past eight weeks, a team of cyclists has been pedaling its way across America, spreading awareness about stroke and the emotional recovery that follows. The Stroke Across America team began its 4,300-mile journey on May 19, and the cyclists are now more than halfway to their goal. Along the way, the cyclists have been sharing their personal stroke and brain injury stories and their experience living with aphasia, a condition that can result from stroke. 

In 2010, Debra Meyerson was a healthy, fit mother of three, working as a professor at Stanford University, when she suffered a severe stroke that changed her life forever. The once-active 53-year-old was left unable to work, speak or be physically active in the ways she once was. However, Meyerson has refused to let her disabilities stop her from living her life to the fullest. She and her husband have embarked on a 4,300-mile cycling journey across the United States to raise awareness of the complex challenges of recovering from a stroke. Despite her many hurdles, Meyerson remains an inspirational example of resilience in the face of adversity.

The ride began in Astoria, Oregon, and will end in Boston, Massachusetts, on Aug. 27. There are 15 community events completed or planned. They've organized events at community centers, music halls, and universities to share their personal stories and help others understand what it's like to live with stroke. "I want people to know they're not alone," Meyerson said. "Rebuilding a rewarding life is possible but takes deliberate effort and lots of support."

Over 800,000 people in the United States suffer from a stroke each year, resulting in the number one cause of adult-onset disability. Survivors can spend years working to improve their post-stroke physical capabilities. Yet there remains a gap in the stroke system of care when it comes to enhancing and supporting survivors' emotional health and the process of rebuilding identities and rewarding lives. 

Debra Meyerson and Steven Zuckerman lead this journey, a wife-and-husband team riding a tandem across the country. They are joined by two other survivors — Michael Obel-Omia and Whitney Hardy. Michael Obel-Omia, an educator, suffered a stroke in 2016. Like Meyerson, he suffers from ongoing aphasia and has used poetry to regain communication (and published a book, Finding My Words: Aphasia Poetry). Whitney Hardy was hit by a car in Boston while running after work and suffered life-threatening traumatic brain injuries. Each participant has a unique story about how their brain injury has created dramatic life changes and how they're not letting it define them. 

Experiencing a stroke can be devastating for the individual and their loved ones. If you or someone you know has been affected by stroke, Stroke Across America invites you to join them on the journey to rebuild. The organization provides daily video stories on Instagram documenting the progress of stroke survivors, as well as opportunities to attend events or ride virtually with the team. By sharing these stories, Stroke Across America hopes to inspire other stroke survivors and remind them that they are not alone. For more information, please visit

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Kelly Horyczun
Blue Dogs Media Public Relations
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Emily Talkow
Stroke Across America Intern
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Stroke Across America riding in Montana with other stroke survivors.

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