Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Power to End Stroke

By: Rogers Gardner, II

My name is Rogers W. Gardner II, and I am the new Cultural Health Initiatives Senior Director for the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. I would like to introduce you to an initiative designed to increase public awareness and action to fight stroke in the African American community: Power to End Stroke.
The Power to End Stroke campaign is a national initiative reaching out to African-Americans ages 30-64. It embraces and celebrates the culture, energy, creativity and lifestyles of African Americans. It unites African Americans to make an impact on the high incidence of stroke within our community. Power to End Stroke emphasizes the serious health disparity of stroke in African Americans and drives the message that in many cases, stroke may be preventable.

Power to End Stroke is an aggressive public awareness campaign against stroke in the African American community, compelling because:

  • Stroke is the #3 killer in America…each year 700,000+ Americans have a stroke, 160,000+ will die and 200,000+ will be disabled;
  • Every 3.3 minutes, someone dies from stroke;
    Every 45 seconds, someone has a stroke;
  • Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability;
  • Compared to whites, African Americans are twice as likely to suffer stroke;
  • The burden of stroke is greater among African Americans than in any other group. In fact, we have almost twice the risk of first-ever stroke compared with whites, and blacks 35-54 years of age have four times the relative risk for stroke.


The Cultural Health Initiatives team in the Kentuckiana Metro is working with WLOU radio and Jesus Saves Ministries to spread the word about stroke prevention. On Friday, May 30th Dr. Kerri Remmel, Chair of the Department of Neurology and Director of the University of Louisville Stroke Program, Marc Jennings, AHA Communications Director, and I were guests on the Angela/Bill Price Morning show and discussed risk factors, signs of stroke and ways to raise stroke awareness in the community. I have also participated in the WLOU Backyard Cookout, National Baptist Convention (pictured left: Rev. Broduric Purvis, Oscar Carter, Jerry Siegel, Vivien Ogburn, and Rogers Gardner), Proud Family Heritage Reunion, Governor's Fourth Annual Empowerment Conference, and various health fairs within the community.

At the cornerstone of the Power to End Stroke campaign are our “Power Ambassadors”. Ambassadors take the Power to End Stroke pledge to: 1) help the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association advance the cause by spreading the word to their family and friends and others in their sphere of influence; 2) know and recognize the risk factors and signs of stroke and 3) raise stroke awareness in the community and recruit others to do the same.

I’m asking everyone to take the pledge…make a promise to yourself and a commitment to your family to know the risk factors. Be proactive in reducing your risk…know the warning signs:

  1. Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg especially on one side of the body.
  2. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  3. Sudden trouble seeing out of one or both eyes. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness.
  4. Sudden loss of balance or coordination.
  5. Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

Please consider becoming an Ambassador. Please help get the word out so others will know the risk factor and warning signs of this deadly disease. If you would like more information about this exciting campaign or would like to become a “Power Ambassador” please call or email me at (502) 371-6008 or rogers.gardner@ heart.org.

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