La Crosse stroke survivor encourages awareness


LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — When it comes to surviving a stroke, experts say a few minutes can make a world of difference.

Early symptoms of stroke can be minor. The survivor we spoke with says you cannot ignore them.

It is said that fortune favors the bold. For Rich Stoll of La Crosse, that certainly is true.

“I go find a project every day and I try to find something to do—and most days, I do,” Stoll said.

Stoll suffered a stroke in 2017.

“I had talked to a doctor and told him what had happened to me and where it was located. And he looked at me right in the face and said ‘and you’re still alive?’ He was kind of surprised. So I felt that I was very blessed,” Stoll said.

Stoll’s symptoms started weeks before, but like so many people, Rich brushed them aside as nothing. Until he couldn’t.

“I got up, and my wife and daughter could tell something was wrong. I couldn’t even stand proper,” Stoll said.

After the stroke, he couldn’t speak and his entire left side was unusable.

After the stroke… He couldn’t speak… and his entire left side was unusable.

“One day I was fine, and the next day I wasn’t. It changed my life,” Stoll said.

Entering a battle he never expected; One he still faces.

“It’s kind of exciting to just be able to pick your arm up. A year ago I couldn’t do that,” Stoll said.

But it’s not one he’s faced without help.

“This has been a joint venture. This has not been by myself. And that’s made it all worthwhile,” Stoll said.

It’s been five years since his stroke. He says he’s getting stronger every day because he refuses not to.

“It’s not even an option. You can go for a walk, you go for a walk. Because there was a time where I couldn’t. And I needed to,” Stoll said.

Looking back.. Rich’s only regret is that he didn’t get medical help sooner.

Experts say getting to the hospital within 4 and a half hours of their first onset of a stroke symptom can minimize or even eradicate its effects.

This is why it’s important to follow the acronym BE FAST:

B: loss of coordination or balance

E: for eyes– loss of vision and blurriness

F: face drooping

A: arm weakness

S: speech is slurred or nonsensical

T: terrible headache and time to call 9-1-1.

Anyone can suffer a stroke, but experts say 87% of strokes could be reduced by moderating blood pressure, cholesterol and leading a healthy lifestyle.


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