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Stroke Support Group has a laugh and a message

By GARY LIBERATORE

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Stroke Support Group at Faxton St. Luke's Healthcare meets once a month, and Sunday afternoon those in attendance were treated to some laughs.

Group co-coordinator Laura Love, who is also a registered nurse says laughter is important to everyone, especially those fighting to recover from something like a stroke. Love said, "Because we all know, laughter is the best medicine."

Love decided to give show group members a short movie called 'Brain Freeze,' featuring comedian John Kawie who suffered a stroke at age 47.

She says the message is very entertaining but very moving. She said, "It's about the story of his stroke and the humor that he used in his rehabilitation."

One of the stroke survivors in attendance was Josephine Cieslak of New Hartford.

Cieslak told NEWSChannel 2 about the day she suffered her stroke back in 2009. She said, "I was sitting on my couch, having a breakfast and I went to sit on my couch, and my foot went this way, and I was on the phone, and my arm went with the foot, my face went this way. I couldn't talk. I was trying to talk to my girlfriend on the phone over a recipe and I couldn't do it because I was going ahh, ahh, ahh, you know, slurring my voice."

Cieslak says 911 was called immediately, firefighters came and broke her door down and she didn't suffer as much damage as she would have, if there was more of a time delay, or she may not have made it.

She says every day, she thanks her friend that she was on the phone with that day for saving her life.

Love says getting to a hospital quickly is the number one thing people need to remember if they are having a stroke or they witness someone having a stroke.

Love said, "What we like to teach people is the FAST acronym. Face, Arms, Speech and Time. You notice a facial droop, and arm drift, slurred speech, you need to call 911, because with stroke, time is brain, and every second counts, so get to the hospital as soon as possible."

For more information on Faxton St. Luke's Healthcare's Stroke Support Group, call (315) 624-5449.

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