On Sunday, June 14, the Delaware Valley Stroke Council (DVSC) will host its 21st Annual Dr. Howard Mazer Strides for Stroke Memorial 5K Run/Walk at 8:30 a.m. The race begins at 26th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway and runs along the Schuylkill River on Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive.
More than 1,000 runners, walkers, stroke survivors and volunteers are expected to participate in Strides for Stroke to help raise awareness for stroke, the fifth leading cause of death and number one cause of adult disability. Proceeds from the race remain in the greater Delaware Valley and help guarantee the continued success of the DVSC’s programs, which include educating local community members on the warning signs and risk factors for stroke as well as working with local hospitals to ensure all stroke patients receive cutting-edge care. Additionally, the DVSC helps stroke survivors navigate the complex healthcare system so they can focus solely on making a swift recovery.
Founded by Toby Mazer, whose late husband Howard was a stroke survivor of nearly two decades, the DVSC provides a number of stroke education initiatives, including the critical F.A.S.T. acronym. “To help individuals identify stroke, we adopted the F.A.S.T. acronym, meaning the face must be observed for a droopy smile, raised arms checked for a downward drift and speech monitored for slurring,” Mazer said. “If any of these conditions persist, then time is of the essence to call 911 because the person is suffering a stroke and brain cells are dying.”
Aimee Minarich, stroke survivor and Mrs. New Jersey US Continental 2015, finds it very important to continue to make people aware about what stroke is, the warning signs, and the risk factors. “The Delaware Valley Stroke Council plays a major role by having events like Strides for Stroke. I’m very excited that I will be taking part for the second time in this event and I’m even more excited that my husband will be coming too. It’s so important that we all work together by attending events like this to help fund the DVSC but also to help other stroke survivors and the impact their stroke played on their life. Please come out and join us so that we can all cross the finish line together.”
One of the most vital messages that the DVSC attempts to promote is that stroke does not discriminate. It can affect anybody regardless of age, gender or ethnicity. Nobody understands this more than 24-year-old Kevin Weaver. Sitting at his computer at age 16, Weaver was overcome with a lightheaded sensation that turned out to be caused by an ischemic stroke in his right cerebellum. Strokes occur in only 12 out of every 100,000 children under the age of 18. However, being afflicted by something so rare has only given Weaver an even more positive outlook, “When I hear those odds, it reinforces how incredibly lucky I am to have gone through this experience, recovered fully, and been given the opportunity to continue a normal and amazing life. I am completely humbled by those who have gone through a similar situation and have not had such a fortunate outcome. I only hope that races and fundraisers like this can help impact the lives of those who are not as well-off.”
If you cannot make the race on June 14, you can still contribute to the cause by making a donation online by clicking here. No matter how big or small, every donation makes a difference.
For the 21st Annual Strides for Stroke, the DVSC has partnered with Parx Casino, Philly Pretzel Factory, Trader Joe’s, ShopRite, and additional local businesses and corporations to provide refreshments and information in a community-sponsored vendor alley. Participants and volunteers will enjoy race-day giveaways, gifts and prizes compliments of Modell’s, J&J Snack Foods, Mike & Ike, and Philadelphia Runner. Philadelphia’s renowned sports radio superstar, 97.5 The Fanatic’s Mike Missanelli will be this year’s celebrity emcee, while Paul Dunn of Level 1 Fitness will warm up the crowd along with DJ Steve Hawk of EMS Entertainment and 92.5 XTU prior to the start of the race.