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Cross-Country Bike Journey to Raise Awareness About Stroke and Aphasia Hosts Event in Boulder

Published June 24, 2022

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MISSOULA, MONTANA (May 4, 2022)- Stroke Across America took off on May 19 for a 4,300-mile journey that will last over 100 days to spread awareness about stroke, aphasia, and the emotional recovery after suffering traumas like stroke.

About 790,000 people in the United States suffer from a stroke each year, resulting in the number one cause of adult-onset disability. Survivors can spend years working to improve their post-stroke physical capabilities. Still, there remains a gap in the stroke system of care when it comes to improving and supporting survivors emotional health and the process of rebuilding identities and rewarding lives. The purpose of this ride is to expose this gap and build awareness about aphasia and the symptoms of stroke.

The ride began in Astoria, OR, on May 19 and will end in Boston, MA during a final celebration held on August 26th and 27th.. There will be 15 community events across the country between the start and finish of the ride, one of which will be held in Boulder on June 24. Some events will feature musical acts, activities, food, and happy hour- but will all have in common the chance for attendees to connect, celebrate, and learn about stroke, aphasia and the emotional journey in recovery. In addition, local organizations will share information about their work, and survivors and carepartners will share stories of the complex recovery process and the need for more support for the emotional journey in recovery.

Debra Meyerson and Steven Zuckerman lead this journey, a wife and husband team riding a tandem across the country. In 2010, Debra was a healthy, fit mother of three, working as a professor at Stanford University, when she suffered a severe stroke. After three years of nearly full-time therapy, she was still dealing with ongoing communication troubles due to aphasia and could not return to her job as a professor, leaving Debra devastated.  

Debra drew on her academic background and decided to write a book to share her story and those of 25 other survivors in hopes of letting others know that they’re not alone. The award-winning book Identity Theft: Rebuilding Ourselves After Strokewas released in 2019, at which time Steve and Debra created Stroke Onward, a nonprofit committed to ensuring stroke survivors and their supporters have the resources needed to rebuild identities and rewarding lives. Now, they’re taking their outreach a step further in a cross-country cycling trip making 79 stops along the way.

They’re joined on the journey by three other survivors – Joe Golden, Michael Obel-Omia, and Whitney Hardy. Joe suffered a massive stroke in 2016 and has used cycling as a critical part of his recovery. Michael Obel-Omia, an educator, suffered a stroke in 2016. Like Debra, he suffers from ongoing aphasia and has used poetry to regain communication (and published a book, Aphasia Poetry). Whitney Hardy, 34, a close family friend, was hit by a car while jogging and suffered life-threatening traumatic brain injuries. Each participant has a unique story about how their brain injury has created dramatic life changes and how they’re not letting it define them. Steve and Debra’s Goldendoodle Rusti will also join them – riding in her “Tail Wagon” behind them or the support vehicle – ready with a cuddle for anyone who needs it.

Stroke Across America invites everyone to JOIN THE JOURNEY and engage with this effort. Participants can join virtually (link to the web page) or in person (link to the web page). In addition, enjoy daily video updates on social media. For more information, please visit

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