Community Events and Programs
Did you miss our 2021 Virtual Aphasia Community Event in March? Debra Meyerson and Steve Zuckerman talked about their book, “Identity Theft: Rediscovering Ourselves After Stroke”.
View the 2021 Virtual Aphasia Community Event Video
View the Aphasia Ambassadors Video
The Aphasia Ambassadors are a group of stroke survivors who have aphasia. They are volunteers who are available to talk with anyone with stroke and aphasia (or their family members/friends) who would like more information on what it is like to live with aphasia.
If you would like to talk with an Aphasia Ambassador about their story, please get in touch with Dr. Leigh Ann Spell at the University of South Carolina Aphasia Lab.
Phone: (803) 777-2693
Featured Person with Aphasia - George Collins
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
“I was born and raised in New Hampshire and at age 17 I decided to enter the Army. In the Army, I was both a trained medic and paratrooper. After three years I decided that I wanted to go back to college and become a Physician’s Assistant. Soon after, I met my wife Shellie and married her in 1991. I worked as a PA for ten years in orthopedics and eventually moved to Charlotte, NC where I currently reside. Shellie and I have two sons, Brian and Matthew.”
Can you share with us a brief story about your stroke journey?
“I love to exercise and have always been very healthy. At the time, I was training for my first marathon. Six days before my marathon I started noticing swelling in my left calf. It turned out that I had a DVT blood clot and was later diagnosed with Factor V Leiden. I continued to train for marathons following my diagnosis. In 2018, I decided to take a long bike ride for exercise. Later that day, following my ride, I had my stroke that would also lead to a diagnosis of aphasia. I notice the side effects of my stroke on a regular basis. Although life is different, I am grateful for the chance at recovery and for support I receive from my family and friends at the Aphasia Lab.”
How did you find out about the Aphasia Lab?
“I feel that there is not enough awareness surrounding aphasia. While researching the disorder in search of more information, my wife, Shellie, stumbled upon the Aphasia Lab online.”
How long have you been involved with the Aphasia Lab?
“I have been a part of the Aphasia Lab since September 2019.”
In what ways have you become involved at the Aphasia Lab?
“I have been a part of the POLAR study at the Aphasia Lab, along with several others. I also participate in weekly Zoom group sessions, a weekly reading group, and a monthly luncheon with lab members and other participants.”
What is your favorite part about the Aphasia Lab?
“I enjoy being able to get to know and communicate with other participants at the lab with an aphasia diagnosis. It also provides me with a comfortable environment for practicing my speech, which is extremely beneficial to recovery.”
How has the Aphasia Lab impacted your recovery?
“Having a community of people I can rely on is one of the biggest ways that the Aphasia Lab has impacted my recovery. It is very important to have people who also have aphasia that you can relate to and rely on.”
Have you met people or made friends through the Aphasia Lab?
“I have met many friends through the Aphasia Lab! I particularly enjoy getting to communicate with others, even if it is via Zoom.”
What advice would you give to someone who is just beginning their journey with aphasia?
“Having someone who is there for constant love and support in your life is a crucial part of recovering from and living with aphasia. I have so much gratitude for my wife Shelley. Additionally, finding someone who can act as a mentor within the aphasia community can be beneficial to recovery. It can also make understanding your diagnosis with aphasia easier.”
Is there anything else that you would like to share?
“With aphasia, practice makes perfect! It is very important to use speech regularly regardless of your level of impairment. I cannot stress enough how grateful I am to be in good health following my stroke.”
George is extremely positive and grateful for the opportunity for recovery! His uplifting spirit is truly admirable following his stroke and aphasia diagnosis.