Surviving a stroke: Elvis tribute artist Al Maeyens spreads stroke awareness

Acronym FAST can save your life

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It's the No. 1 killer of men and women in our country: cardiovascular disease.  On Wednesday, WPTV launched a new series called "Chart Your Heart".

The first "Chart Your Heart" story comes during National Stroke Awareness Month and involves a stroke survivor that is an Elvis Presley tribute artist.

Elvis is alive and well.  Rocking along in his look-alike suit, Al Maeyens pulls off Elvis to a tee.  He performs all over South Florida and loves it.

But it all almost came to a tragic end in November 2012.

"I couldn't move my right side. I was paralyzed. I couldn't talk either. The stroke was coming in and out," said Maeyens.

He had a blot clot in his brain and a stroke was setting in, causing him to almost die.

Maeyens’ wife called 911 in the nick of time.

"If she'd have been out, not home, it would have been a tragedy because she would have come back and found a dead guy," said Maeyens.

A specialized surgery removed a clot out of Maeyens’ brain and saved his life so there was no Heartbreak Hotel that day.

Now, this tribute artist is using his second lease on life to spread stroke awareness.

Maeyens said, "I had no idea what a stroke was until I had one."

The American Heart Association says attacking a stroke quickly is key.

Just remember the word FAST as an acronym that can save your life:
F - Stands for face because a stroke patient’s face could droop to one side
A – Stands for arm weakness. Ask a possible stroke victim to raise both arms. If one drifts downward, that could mean trouble.
S - Speech difficulty. Listen for slurred speech like Maeyens had during his stroke.
TTime. Call 911 because the faster you get to the hospital, the better chance for a full recovery.
These are all tips that made sure this Elvis did not leave the building.

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