Stroke Survivor Videos
Click on a survivor’s name to view their video story and hear about their experience with stroke. Not all survivors will have video links available. If you are a stroke survivor interested in sharing your story, please contact Brittany Savage at 501-400-6437 or via email email@example.com.
Grateful, thankful, and blessed is how Delisa Balentine would describe her life since her stroke on September 15, 2022. Balentine began her day with Grandparent’s Day at her daughter’s school and went to work. However, a routine day quickly turned into a life-altering one when she got in her car to head to housing inspection and could not reach up to adjust her glasses with her left hand. Thanks to her knowledge of stroke signs and symptoms, she knew what she was experiencing was a stroke. Coworkers were able to call EMS who transported Balentine to St. Bernard’s Medical Center in Jonesboro, where she was rapidly assessed for stroke through the IDHI Stroke Program’s telemedicine program and was administered tenecteplase, a clot-busting medication. Within a few hours of receiving the medication, she was able to reach up and touch her face with her left hand again. “I turn everything that is negative into a positive, it’s just a totally different look out on life now.”
May 27, 2022 is a day that changed the life of 30-year old Stephanie Kirkendoll — the day she became an ischemic stroke survivor. At her young age, it’s hard to believe that she could have a severe stroke that would have left her unable to fully use the right side of her body and likely permanent speech damage. But, in reality, stroke does not discriminate based on age and everyone is at risk for stroke. Kirkendoll was with a friend the evening of her stroke who was able to call 911 and she was quickly taken and evaluated by the team at Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Russellville. After undergoing telemedicine assessment through the IDHI Stroke Program, Kirkendoll consented to receiving alteplase, a clot-busting medication used in the early phases of an acute ischemic stroke, and then was flown to UAMS via Survival Flight #7. Kirkendoll spent 12 days in the hospital undergoing tests and rehabilitation activities before finally going home. “Stroke will humble anybody that it happens to,” she says but her progress and courage are a testament to her strength and reminder that stroke can happen to anyone and the best thing anyone can do when stroke symptoms start is to seek emergency care.
Russellville survivor Rob Caldwell is no stranger to hospitals or medical care after an accident with a drunk driver years ago left him severely injured and caused the loss of his right lower leg. However, he is very determined to lead a healthy, active lifestyle. In spite of that, tragedy struck again on January 13, 2023 when he began to experience eyesight changes after a morning at the gym. Brushing it off, he continued running errands until his speech became slurred and he started experiencing confusion. At that point, he knew he needed medical care and ended up at his primary care provider’s office and was at that point experiencing left sided weakness and increased confusion. They immediately called 911 and Caldwell was taken to Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center where he received the clot-busting medicine tenecteplase, or TNK within just 23 minutes of arrival. Almost immediately, he began feeling better and was ready to get back to life as he knew it. He is proud to be an ambassador for the stroke program and advocate for people to learn about how to recognize stroke and seek treatment immediately.
Dr. Michael Pafford of Benton, AR
Donald Koger of Oklahoma City, OK
Trista Tetro of Mena, AR