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Cleveland Clinic Martin Health stroke support group thrives during pandemic

10-year-old group now has Zoom meetings on third Tuesday of every month
Posted at 8:30 AM, May 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-14 08:30:28-04

STUART, Fla. — Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability in the United States, but early intervention therapies and support groups can help reduce that.

Victoria Bryson is a stroke survivor. She had a stroke while at work in July 2018.

Her doctors said it happened at the base of her neck where it meets the brain stem.

"I was paralized on my right side," said Bryson.

Bryson had to relearn a lot of her motor skills through therapies, including riding a bicyle.

"You remember as an adult, after a stroke, that you used to be able to walk," said Bryson. "You used to be able to do those things. But you have to relearn that in your body and it's very frustrating sometimes. The two training wheels, my husband put it on my bike. Then a couple years ago, it was riding a mile. Now, it's riding 18 miles. So it's good."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said someone in the U.S. has a stroke every 40 seconds. Every four minutes, someone dies of a stroke.

Medical experts believe a stroke reduces mobility in more than half of stroke survivors age 65 and over, which is why leaders at Cleveland Clinic Martin Health started a support group 10 years ago and continued to thrive online amid the pandemic.

Kristin Winter is a speech language pathologist and oversees the support group.

"Having a stroke, you feel secluded, in that own right," said Winter. "Just being with others, sharing ideas, giving each other support and giving each other a pat on the back really helps the stroke participants."

Bryson agreed.

The group currently meets via Zoom on the third Tuesday of every month at 10 a.m. It is a free virtual support group. For information on how to participate, email Winter at or Ambre Kiddy, stroke manager, at