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May 18, 2012 > In honor of Stroke Survivor Month

In honor of Stroke Survivor Month

Manny Reyes: Stroke Survivor

My name is Ofelia, wife of 64 year old, Manny Reyes. On the morning of April 9, 2011, Manny left the house to retrieve a few items from our storage unit. This is where the staff at the storage facility watching the security cameras, would find my husband having a stroke in the hallway in front of our unit. They immediately called 911 and Manny was brought to Washington Hospital in Fremont. The doctors strongly advised me to call our five children and inform them about their father's massive stroke. Given the severity of his condition, four of the five children, jumped on a plane to rush to their dad's side.

Manny suffered an ischemic stroke, was diagnosed with verbal aphraxia (complete loss of vocal motor control) and paralyzed his entire right side. While lying in several hospitals for a total of five months, Manny's medical, hospital, and rehabilitation costs were growing exponentially; and being without medical insurance, we could not provide ample support. While in four different facilities, he underwent a craniotomy, tracheotomy, and abdominal tube feeding among several other procedures. After months of hospitalization, with dramatic progress, I was happy to bring him home and begin improving his independent living skills. He is now receiving daily speech, physical and occupational therapies through a local program, which empowers him to progress even further. Because of his condition, he is wheelchair dependant. I was overwhelmed by all the physical demands; it had taken a toll on me, and now I am disabled myself, as of March 2012.

Manny is most happy when family comes to visit. He loves to make everyone laugh with his uplifting and joking personality. Although his speaking ability is compromised, in many ways, he brings joy and laughter to our hearts. He is a true inspiration to the entire family because he shows us, no matter the circumstance; life is still to be enjoyed.

We'd like to have the freedom to travel and attend local family functions and especially visit our grandchildren that live 45 minutes away. But because of the difficulty of transferring him in and out of his wheelchair from our small Toyota Matrix, it becomes a challenge. As of now, we are very limited due to his current condition, and also because we do not own a vehicle that can safely transport him and his equipment. We have entered a contest through NMEDA - National Mobility Equipment Dealer's Association for a chance to win a 2012 Custom Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle. Whoever receives the most votes, will receive one of three vehicles the company is offering. You may vote for Manny on the following website - please enter the code 889 if you're so kind as to vote: http://www.nmeda.com/mobility-awareness-month/heroes/california/hercules/ 683/manny-reyes

Our family is very hopeful in seeing him fully recover, even if it takes 10 or more years! We are excited to see what God has in store for our futures. With the support of family and friends and the strength of our faith, his stroke seems to be a mere shadow of the past. May 1st begins National Stroke Month - The sky is the limit with Manny's potential. We are truly blessed that he is still alive and keeping a smile on our faces!

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