“I am very thankful for those that support people like me, and our families, who are living with a stroke,” says Christopher Munn.
Christopher Munn was on his Tuesday evening 10K run when he began to experience having a stroke. He suddenly saw flashes in his left eye and had a sharp headache. But when he went to the hospital, they told him it was probably a migraine. He’d never had a migraine before. Two days later, during an office meeting, he couldn’t move his right side.
“Others noticed. I couldn’t talk. I tried but couldn’t get anyone to understand,” he remembers.
Chris was nothing if not active and healthy before his stroke. He regularly ran with the Owen Sound Running Club, spent time canoeing or skiing outdoors, attended book club meetings and renovated parts of his home.
But the stroke changed all that, greatly impairing his mobility, speech and lifestyle.
“The first night in the hospital after my stroke, I needed to go to the washroom,” he explains. “I wasn’t used to my leg and arm not working. I tried to get up and slid to the floor.”
March of Dimes Canada has helped him get back on his feet, offering support programs and subsidizing what his benefits do not cover.
It took seven weeks of rehab to be able to walk with a cane, and he needs ongoing physio three times a week to keep him mobile. He also joined the MODC Aphasia & Communications Disabilities Program (ACDP) for weekly speech therapy, and attends the After Stroke Support Group once a month to help integrate him back into a normal life.
“[March of Dimes Canada] staff and volunteers are wonderful – so encouraging and supportive,” he says.
Today, Chris is adapting to a new life. “I miss jogging and hiking. I go for walks,” he explains. “I am trying to adjust to doing things differently.” It takes a great deal of effort, but he’s able to complete small tasks around the house, have conversations, and read books. He’s also taken up new hobbies, including art and dance, and is optimistic that with continued support, he’ll one day be able to bike again.
In Canada, over 400,000 people like Christopher have survived a stroke. We are helping families like Christopher’s by offering support, rehabilitation services, education and caregiver support through our nationwide After Stroke program. Visit the After Stroke website at afterstroke.marchofdimes.ca for more information and resources.