Henry Winkler and Susan Lucci Among National Stroke Association's Inaugural RAISE Awards Winners

Oct 31, 2011, 08:00 ET from National Stroke Association

Program Recognizes Unique and Effective Stroke Awareness Community Activities

CENTENNIAL, Colo., Oct. 31, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- National Stroke Association honored winners in five categories at the inaugural Raising Awareness In Stroke Excellence (RAISE) Awards on Friday, October 28, 2011. The event took place at the Museum of Nature and Science in Denver, CO. This national award program recognizes individuals and groups in multiple categories for taking stroke awareness activities to new heights.

2011 winners include Henry Winkler (Media Spokesperson; "Open Arms: Raising Awareness of Upper Limb Spasticity"); Susan Lucci (Media Spokesperson; "Facing AFib, Get Serious About Stroke™"); University of Mississippi Health Care Multidisciplinary Stroke Team (Outstanding Group); Value Health Partners (Most Creative); Tom Watson (Outstanding Individual); The Aphasia Literacy Group (Most Impactful). View photos of the event.  

"There is no doubt that raising stroke awareness is one of the most important ways to make an impact on stroke no matter the reach or type of effort being made. By supporting the many stroke champions already raising awareness across the country in unique and effective ways, the RAISE Awards helps to establish a devoted and organized community engaged in stroke awareness for the long term," said Jim Baranski, CEO of National Stroke Association.

"Many people in the United States are unable to identify stroke risk factors or stroke warning signs. This is alarming because stroke is already a leading cause of death and we know incidence will likely rise," said Baranski. "The boomers are aging and a recent study shows increased incidence among children and young adults. It's possible that by adopting better lifestyle habits and educating about warning signs, we could impact so many."

Henry Winkler, legendary "Happy Days" star and RAISE Award Winner in the Media Spokesperson category, was on hand to share his personal story about his mother's struggle with upper limb spasticity, as well as present and receive awards. Former CBS Weatherman and stroke survivor, Mark McEwen, emceed the event.

Award winners are recognized through various advertising channels, including StrokeSmart™ magazine, www.stroke.org and email and social media promotion. They also receive a website seal indicating their winning category to help drive interest.

"We want to help these individuals and groups stay motivated about raising awareness all year long," said Baranski. "Their efforts deserve to be known so others can be inspired to do the same."

About National Stroke Association                    
National Stroke Association is the only national organization in the U.S. that focuses 100 percent of its efforts on stroke by developing compelling education and programs focused on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and support for all impacted by stroke. Its mission is to reduce the incidence and impact of stroke.

Press Contact: Taryn Fort                            

2011 RAISE Awards Winners

The Aphasia Literacy Group                    
Most Impactful                    
RiverView Healthcare Speech Pathology Department in conjunction with the area Northwest Service Cooperative Adult Basic Education developed the Aphasia Literacy Group for stroke survivors in rural northwestern Minnesota. The program began with a framework to address the cognitive and academic needs of stroke survivors within a literacy group. The partners together provided the educational expertise and utilized specific aphasia knowledge built from existing adult patient needs to design the group. Members have gained 1st to 2nd grade levels in skills and individualized goals are developed for each participant.

Henry Winkler                    
Best Media Spokesperson: "Open Arms: Raising Awareness of Upper Limb Spasticity"                    
Henry Winkler is the campaign ambassador for "Open Arms: Raising Awareness of Upper Limb Spasticity", a campaign to raise awareness for upper limb spasticity, a debilitating condition that affects approximately one million people including many stroke survivors, but, often goes underreported and undertreated. Through online webinars, in-person seminars and online and print materials, Henry has been integral in initiating a nationwide dialogue regarding this common, yet unfamiliar condition. "By working with the "Open Arms" team of national patient support groups, I am determined to make sure people living with upper limb spasticity have the information to take control of their condition so they don't suffer the way my mother did," Winkler said. Learn more at www.openarmscampaign.com.

Susan Lucci                    
Best Media Spokesperson: "Facing AFib, Get Serious About Stroke™"                    
Susan Lucci and her husband, Helmut Huber, who lives with atrial fibrillation (AFib), are passionate about educating the public about the connection between AFib and stroke. Through their involvement in the "Facing AFib, Get Serious About Stroke™" program, the couple aims to raise awareness and understanding of AFib and the five-fold increased risk of stroke associated with the condition. Their efforts include filming a nationally-distributed public service announcement, participating in media activities and encouraging patients and their loved ones to visit the "Facing AFib" website. "Having been happily married for more than 41 years, Helmut and I are a true team. We know how much a stroke can impact all aspects of our family and we're doing everything we can to reduce his risk," said Lucci. Learn more at www.facingafib.com

Tom Watson                    
Outstanding Individual                    
Tom Watson is an artist and stroke survivor who exhibits his survival-inspired art around the Dayton, Ohio area, sharing his story along with it. At least one series is derived from scans of his left vertebral artery. The project involves dissecting and destroying silk screened images, then reconfiguring and reassembling them, symbolizing how his body and life were torn asunder and reassembled in the healing process. He wishes to convey that art and other creative outlets can meet an unmet need as a part of the healing process; that everyone needs something to feed their soul. Tom's mission in all of this is to share the healing power of art and expression with others as he works through his own troubles overcoming stroke. See more of his art at www.facebook.com/tomwatson3rd.art and www.myspace.com/lemonadehead.

University of Mississippi Health Care Multidisciplinary Stroke Team                    
Outstanding Group                    
The multidisciplinary stroke team at the University of Mississippi Health Care consists of nurses, administrators, physical therapists, and others who serve the metro Jackson area with education on stroke risk factors and warning signs messaging. The team is responsible for educating or performing risk assessments on more than 6000 people over the past year and thousands more through other community outreach activities.

Value Health Partners                    
Most Creative                    
Value Health Partners is comprised of seven Michigan healthcare systems joining to create greater value for their patients and communities. They engaged high school students to create 30-second videos using FAST messaging that resulted in an application of current technology and intergenerational communication about stroke. In developing videos, students engaged parents and grandparents in discussion about stroke. Winning videos were promoted on the VHP website, school websites and through media coverage. VHP hospitals are monitoring patient activity related to stroke in their emergency departments to help measure outcomes. View the winning videos at www.youtube.com/user/valuehealthpartners.

Related Links:                          
National Stroke Association website                        
See highlights from the 2011 RAISE Awards

SOURCE National Stroke Association