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Stroke victor to speak at The Community House about experience

By Staff | Jul 15, 2015

A stroke that happened 19 years ago has not stopped one gentleman from continuing to excel in everything he puts his mind to, all while helping others.

“I am a survivor,” Bob Mandell said.

At the age of 53, he left work early to go to the doctor, who said he had flu like symptoms. The symptoms turned into a horrible headache.

“Suddenly, I felt something snap in my head. My headache was worse,” Mandell wrote in his newly published book “Stroke Victor: How to Go from Stroke Victim to Stroke Victor.”

The result of that snap eventually led to an ambulance picking him up in his Connecticut townhouse on a cold January evening. The hemorrhagic stroke resulted in admittance to a nursing home for three and a half months due to its severity. Mandell was left partially paralyzed, unable to think and speak.

“The next day I awoke groggily and tried unsuccessfully to sit up in bed. Debbie said a neurologist had performed surgery during the night on the back of my head where I had suffered a brain bleed, a hemorrhagic stroke,” Mandell wrote in “Stroke Victor: How to Go from Stroke Victim to Stroke Victor.”

Mandell went through extensive therapy, which included speech therapy to improve his vocabulary and speaking fluency. He said he could not speak more than two words at a time, which often times left him frustrated. Although the struggle of putting words together in the right order took a few months to conquer, Mandell is now doing public speaking in front of crowds to share his experience.

After plateauing with traditional therapy, Mandell found other therapies that helped him with such progress as walking and using his right hand for things that used to be easy to achieve before his stroke. He said he continues to do therapy on a daily basis as a result of that stroke.

As a way to help others, Mandell decided to write “Stroke Victor: How to Go from Stroke Victim to Stroke Victor,” now available on Amazon and on the Barnes and Noble’s website, shares his story in a “how-to” format of becoming the victor of a stroke.

In January of this year, he formed the Stroke Research Foundation, which is based out of Naples, and in February received nonprofit status for the organization. Mandell said the foundation was formed to fill a void in research, advocacy and outreach for the disease. He said his organization will also help in increasing post-stroke rehabilitation options to improve an individual’s lifestyle.

The very first launch party will be held on Sanibel at the Community House from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, July 26.

Mandell will speak about his experience with a funny twist, as well as share what kind of therapies he has used, what kind of clinical research is out there and the goals and mission of his foundation. He said his speech will last between 30 to 40 minutes.

Although the party is free to attend, those interested are asked to RSVP by calling (239) 254-8266 or by emailing friends@strokerf.org.

For more information about the foundation, visit www.strokerf.org.

Follow Meghan @IslanderMeghan on Twitter.