Hospital Honors Stroke Heroes of New Jersey (Video)
Three individuals were honored as Stroke Heroes of New Jersey at Overlook Medical Center last week. The presentation was the first in a new, ongoing monthly program.
Three individuals were honored as Stroke Heroes of New Jersey at Overlook Medical Center Wednesday afternoon. The presentation was the first in a new, ongoing monthly program to honor individuals who have made a difference in the lives of those in the stroke community.
The awards, funded by the American Academy of Neurology, were presented by Dr. Robert Felberg, director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center at Overlook.
The program's goal, according to Dr. Felberg, is to recognize people “who have done an outstanding job in assisting and improving the lives of others in the region.
The three honorees—a registered nurse, a stroke survivor and advocate, and a volunteer in the neurology department—received their certificates in a short ceremony which also drew attention to the Stroke Heroes of New Jersey social media campaign.
Sheila DaSilva, RN, is a nurse coordinator at Overlook’s Stroke Center. She is also co-organizer of the Stroke Support Group at Overlook.
For the past two years, Sheila has organized a walk in Nomahegan Park in Cranford, to support the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, to raise awareness of heart disease and stroke, and to raise money for research.
DaSilva considers herself both teacher and program coordinator. “Being a nurse and being a stroke coordinator, it's really very important to be an educator—to get the word out there that stroke is a very important topic and it's a very serious topic just like heart disease.”
Stacey Magliaro is a former legal secretary, volunteer, and advocate. Her life changed in 2008, when a stroke left her with aphasia—affecting her ability to read and speak. Stacey has not only worked to rebuild her abilities, but now also volunteers her time at Overlook to help reach out to other stroke survivors and educate others about aphasia.
“It's important that people become aware that people look fine, but there's a problem with the brain.” Descibing aphasia, she added, “There is a loss of language, but the intelligence is there.”
Seema Shekar is an undergraduate at the University of Maryland and a summer intern in Overlook's department of neurology, where she created the Stroke Heroes social media accounts. She also organized the awards and was surprised when she received recognition. “I had no idea what Dr. Felberg had planned.”
Describing the other honorees, she said, “they're just amazing people and I'm glad I had a part in recognizing them.”
The Stroke Heroes of New Jersey Facebook account is accessible here, and they can be followed on Twitter @StrokeHeroesNJ.