2015 Holiday Campaign

We would greatly appreciate your reading through these stories provided by our friends.  They will help you understand the perspective of those who have made this journey, and appreciate their passion to pursue full-life participation with aphasia, which in turn will inspire us to do more as we wrap up our 12th year of service in NC!

When Words Fail, Music Speaks… Meet Hugh!

Margaret, my wife, and I were on a 2015 Lewis & Clark Cultural Tour traveling through Montana and Idaho following part of the trail of the early nineteenth century expedition. In Montana we canoed and camped on the Missouri River. In Idaho we did some strenuous hikes in order to visit Lewis and Clark trails and campsites in the Bitterroot Mountains.

After completing the Lewis & Clark Tour, Margaret and I had planned to spend a few days exploring Yellowstone National Park. We had been travelling since early morning and arrived at Yellowstone about 5:00 p.m. on July 24. After visiting Mammoth Terraces, I had a stroke in the parking lot. I remained conscious, so Margaret immediately drove me to the close by park village, where she located a ranger who called for paramedics. The lead paramedic recognized that my symptoms were very severe and immediately arranged to take me to the hospital in Bozeman, Montana, by ambulance and helicopter.
(click here to read the whole story)
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How sometimes HOPE is spelled T-A-P! Meet Roy G.

I was preparing for an event at church. My wife noticed that something was wrong. The first stroke occurred on September 21, 2014. The first hospital stay was 10 days.  It was obvious that I still had problems and I had to return in a couple of days. Now my problems extended to my speech. The hospital staff began speech therapy.  At the beginning of 2015, I could only put a mark to represent  my signature.  The staff at Wake Med Hospital alerted my wife to TAP.

It was not until my involvement with TAP that I could grasp the possibilities in approaching normal living again. The weekly group session provided me with interaction with others who are in varying states of recovery. It was clear that challenges were ahead for many of us. But the TAP staff provides weekly encouragement in an unintimidating, fun, and loving environment.
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Cultivating and Creating Passion in the next generation of Speech Pathologists… Meet Lucy!

When I moved here to begin graduate school at UNC-Chapel Hill, I knew I wanted to work in a medical setting with adults who suffered from neurological trauma or disease. I felt blessed to move to an area that was bursting at the seams with major medical centers!

What I didn’t know, however, was that I had also moved right next door to a different kind of a center, a center where patients could move on to gain lifelong connections, friendships, and communicative support. Not long after I began my studies at Carolina, I heard about the Triangle Aphasia Project—a place that embraced the Life Participation Approach to Aphasia in an incredible way! I knew I had to wiggle my way in there somehow.
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Speaking for a Living… Meet Bob!

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Lu Dumas, his wife, noticed Bob with bad headaches, fatigue, and an episode of what we now know was “speech arrest.” Your mind then starts to wander.  What’s wrong with my strong, young, healthy husband?  Maybe he’s working too much.  That must be it, he’s just tired.

But an MRI changed our life forever that sunny day in April 2007.   My 40-year-old husband was diagnosed with a grade 3 brain tumor in his left temporal lobe.  Scary stuff.  We had two little girls, we were happily married, and we had no idea what we were in store for.  But we prayed and we had faith.
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“He’ll never sing again”… or will he?

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TAP client , Jackie M.

“He’ll never sing again.” On June 8, 2008, I uttered those words in the emergency room of a trauma center in Orlando, Florida. I was irrational. My faith was failing me. My husband had collapsed during the last day of a professional conference, having suffered a massive stroke that left him unconscious and paralyzed. He had been the most energetic kind of man—interested in everything, driven to do whatever he was doing to the hilt. Being the best—in his profession, piloting his boat, flying his airplane, riding his motorcycle, producing exquisite lathe-turned wooden pieces, and sharing all of this with everybody—these things made him the happiest. He had been an avid reader and a lover of music, particularly of singing tenor in our church choir.
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In her own words…our “rock”. Meet Lynn (and PLEASE watch her video!)

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TAP Client: Lynn

November 30, 2011, changed my mom’s life forever. That day, she had a massive, life-threatening stroke. On life support for three days, my dad, my brother, and I kept vigil by her bedside as doctors moved in and out running tests, changing tubes, and checking vitals. As they huddled and whispered, the looks on their faces gave away the grim possibilities they believed lay ahead. The first day, one of the doctors met with Dad, Chad, and me, to have the dreaded conversation that you never want to have about a loved one. Especially your own mother. If things didn’t get better, and it wasn’t looking like they would, would we have to make that final decision for her? Minutes, hours, and days passed and we began to see small improvement and it gave us all hope. She came out of unconsciousness and off life-support. Hurray! But what did this mean? What would life look like for her? For us? Would she be paralyzed, unable to speak, unable to function independently as she always had?
(click here to read the whole story)
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Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus…

unnamed-3Everyone who knows Thomas, knows that he has never met a stranger, before and after his stroke. His position as a  industrial business development manager for a design-build, construction company was a perfect fit. He had brought in 90 percent  of the work in 2013, and 2014 was looking good. He traveled most of the Southeastern coast, visiting with potential clients, getting to know them personally as well as professionally.

It was May of 2014 when Thomas was asked by his manager to go to Florida to visit a few targeted plant sites to determine if his company could offer their services.  The plan was for us to drive to Florida by way of Charleston, call on a few of his established clients, and drive to the Tampa Bay area to visit with my recently widowed mother for Mother’s Day. I would stay in Florida and fly to the home front at a later time. He would drive to northern Florida, call on those targeted accounts, then drive home.
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TAP clients get a GREEN thumb!

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I know that TAP can be an immense gift for individuals, families, and friends living with aphasia, as I have witnessed it first hand.   But I don’t know if those served by TAP truly understand that they, and TAP, can be an immense gift to us that serve.

I am blessed to have several passions in my life, two of which are helping out with leading groups for TAP and gardening.  For over two years I had a desire in my heart to combine those two passions.  TAP is about participating in life, and for 20 plus years I have seen people whom I have worked with as a speech therapist talk about their love of working with plants, and seen the sadness in their eyes when they would say they just couldn’t do it anymore because of their challenges in this new life with aphasia and physical limitations.  And as we know aphasia can get us off track from the things we love and have passion for, but going in steps, TAP gets us back to the business of living.
(click here to read the whole story)
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No room for “can’t” in our program!

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My name is Krystal Jackson and it has been almost four years since my stoke in January 2012, and my life has not been the same since. It has been a journey.

We were living in Northern Virginia at the time and my husband and I just signed a contract to build a new home here in North Carolina.  Five days after we signed the contract on my home I suffered the stroke.  Though the builder offered to refund all our money after hearing what happened my husband said no, we are building her dream home. I didn’t know then, but I know now, he knew that I would survive and be here today.  Thank you.
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Attitude determines Altitude! Meet Marc!

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One morning I got up and drove to a coffee shop to meet my dad. As I waited for him there was a funny feeling. I asked him to grab a doughnut for me. I don’t remember if I even had a bite before asking him to take me home. He called Barb and she got there shortly after. By this point I needed help walking to the car to go to the hospital. Fortunately I could tell how to get there but as we arrived my words had slurred to the point I could not understand myself and had to be lifted into a wheelchair. Shortly after the lights went out.

To this point several of you know the story. Here is where my attitude made the difference as the hospital I was in only had so many beds for rehab and I got one. I now think about the others who had to go home without this invaluable help. After many weeks of physical, occupational, speech and recreational therapies, I went home to continue with outpatient therapy. In New York you get 20 weeks of physical and a combined 20 weeks of occupational and speech. After my first speech sessions I was told I could benefit more from occupational so there you go.
(click here to read the whole story)
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Honor thy mother… and Dara does just that! 

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On May 22, 2013, at 7:30 a.m. I tried calling my mom at her home in North Carolina, and she didn’t answer.  I felt strange about it. Normally she would call me at 7:00 a.m. as we prayed every morning that time.  I kept calling consistently every 15 to 30 minutes yet still no answer.  I began to panic.

My mother retired in 2000 and decided to relocate from New York to North Carolina.  I could remember thinking how was she going to leave from a place of familiarity to somewhere that was totally different.  She left me in New York and moved to North Carolina all by herself.  She had great neighbors and she met new friends along the way.  She was active in her local senior center and was very independent.  She drove her car, cooked, cleaned, gardened, went to church, and  traveled. Although my mom had prior health issues, she managed them and was enjoying her life.
(click here to read the whole story)
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If not now, when??? Meet Steve

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As Maura’s husband, I have been a part of this wonderful organization called TAP since its inception all those years ago. It is humbling to read all of these “12 Days of TAP” stories and to see what this small, grass roots nonprofit can do by helping one person, one family, at a time. I could not be more proud of its accomplishments and thrilled for those patients and families who have benefited by its programs.

Personally, I am indebted to all of the volunteers, therapists, board members, and supporters who have helped along the way. TAP continues to exist because of a small but passionate group of individuals who know what it can offer. In order to keep it going, however, it takes more than passion. It also takes money. TAP does not have a million-dollar donor, an entire building, or a staff of 25. It has a small office, one part-time assistant, a slew of volunteers, and a leader who continues to work and sacrifice on a daily basis, not for the money (since she doesn’t accept a salary), but for those who continue to need speech therapy services, because we all know that you can continue to improve, even when the medical establishment says you can’t.
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