The Different Faces of Stroke

Power To End Stroke Volunteer


military retiree, father of 11

On May 26, 2007, at the age of 48, I woke up with a numb left hand and a limp when I walked. I didn’t realize I had had a stroke in my sleep. As a man and a military retiree, I was in denial that I needed help. I didn’t recognize the signs of a stroke even though I had had two transient ischemic attacks (TIA or mini-strokes) in 2000 and had become a volunteer for the American Stroke Association’s Power To End Stroke program.

I rode the bus to my daughter’s house, and while leaning on the fence, my daughter came outside and asked me, “What’s wrong with you? Why are walking like that?” I told her, “I don’t know.” She asked if I had a stroke. I told her “no.” I later grabbed a bus to get to the hospital. As doctors rushed me into the emergency room, I still refused to acknowledge the seriousness of my condition. While I was undergoing testing, one of my daughters showed me my watch and asked me, “What is this?” I responded, “It’s not a Rolex.” I heard laughter around me, but I couldn’t see anyone. All this time I thought I was alone with the doctor in the room. When I turned to the right I saw my family there. It was then that I realized something was really wrong. I was blind in my left eye and couldn’t speak properly. I had had a stroke.

Today I regularly do physical therapy exercises and my weight has dropped from 240 to 180 pounds. I volunteer and speak regularly to groups about stroke risk factors and encourage people to live healthier and know their family health history.

Wesley, along with his 13-year-old daughter, have become such dedicated volunteers that he was one of 13 volunteers from across the country to be honored at the National Power To End Stroke Awards in Atlanta on June 13, 2009.

For Stroke Risk Factors and Symptoms visit