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From Maura English Silverman

On the final day of the 12 Days of TAP, I thought it only fitting to offer my story. Not why I started TAP so many years ago, not why I passionately believe in it’s philosophy and how incredibly blessed I feel to be able to serve individuals with aphasia, their families and the community.  You all have likely heard that part of the story. What you haven’t heard is what aphasia has done to me, why it’s impact has forever altered my life, and those of whom I love. I thought it only fitting to tell this truth, to share this raw reality, given the brave and candid glimpses provided by the 11 stories to date…

From Carolyn, our “founding mother” and husband of Ray

I have been involved in caregiving before TAP was started – in fact Ray and I were involved with the first meetings about starting such an organization.
It has been heartwarming to see how TAP Unlimited has evolved during the last 12 years. From a very small group struggling with everything except a very dedicated leader, Maura, to what it is today. That is a modern day miracle.
Until recently, we did not have a permanent “home”…

From Hope: TAP Client, Volunteer and TAP Life Participation Award…

I was practicing as a speech-language pathologist in Raleigh, working with children who had difficulties with their speech. But my husband, Brad got transferred to a territory up in Ohio and parts of Michigan, and we were both young newlyweds and we thought, “This will be exciting to be in a new part of the country! Oh, it’s going to be so fun!”
I was in a car accident a little over 11 years ago in Ohio. I was on a two-lane road when the car in front of me was turning left, so I stopped when this truck carrying construction equipment did not see me stopped in the road…

From TAP Client, Shawn, just 46 years old when he suffered a massive stroke

On a Sunday night in January 2013 I was exercising and enjoying playing hockey with friends, which I have done since I was 5 years old. I finished the game and went home to prepare for work the next day and then went to bed. In the middle of the night I suffered a massive stroke on the left side of my brain from a dissected carotid artery, due to a hit to my throat by a hockey stick. I didn’t know what was happening to me until I arrived at the hospital…

From TAP Group Leader, Candace

“In February of this year, I found myself at TAP’s door, having retired from speech pathology at the UNC Hospital Rehabilitation Center the previous May. I had come to speech therapy later in life than most, starting graduate school with children in college and a husband not too far away from retirement himself. I used to tell my clients, “I may look like a seasoned speech pathologist, but I’m really just seasoned.” I may have been short on decades of professional experience, but had accumulated years of life experience…

From TAP Spouse, Barbara regarding her husband, James

“On July 5, 2012, James suffered a massive stroke which left him paralyzed on his right side. James was unable to speak or perform any of his daily activities. This was a challenge for him being that James had just retired from the military after 27 years and he was ordained as a pastor in May of 2012. But God knew the plans that he had for James.
James stayed in the hospital for three months. After returning home he began therapy at Wake Med in Clayton. He was then introduced to TAP…

From TAP Daughter, Kristen, 14 years old

My name is Kristen and I am 14 years old. My mom suffered a stroke over Labor Day weekend 2012.
Although I knew what a stroke was, I always had the impression that it happened to older people and not a 40- year-old like my mom. The three weeks in the hospital were very stressful and also very uncertain. We were lucky that the physical side effects from the stroke were not as bad as they could have been…

From TAP Spouse, Ron, about his wife, Anne

I was distressed at my inability to help my wife, Anne, who was widely known as an educator, leader, and community activist. Two strokes had impacted her communication skills. She still possessed her wit and intelligence, but her speech consisted largely of made-up words, garbled language, and misused words like her favorite, “chicken”… I later learned this communication disorder was called aphasia…

From TAP Client, Jenni

Last June, my husband found TAP through a friend of ours involved in speech therapy. At the time, I was nonverbal after I sustained a kick to the head while teaching a horseback riding lesson. I was desperate to speak again, and my husband was tenacious in finding a source of support apart from therapy. My doctors and therapists were wonderful, but hesitant to tell me that I could ever regain fluent speech or conquer the aphasia and verbal apraxia I had acquired enough to go back to work…

From TAP Family Member, Melissa’s sister Melanie

In December 2010, my sister Melissa, an artist and athlete, suffered a massive stroke while traveling alone in Florida. The stroke paralyzed the right side of her body, and destroyed her brain’s language center. She was left with severe aphasia, the loss of language function. Although she could still understand the speech of others, she could no longer translate her own thoughts into words. Even her own name was lost to her…

From TAP Family Member, Ashley H.

Over the past several years, TAP has meant more to my Mother and me than I could ever put into words. The camaraderie between this group of survivors and their caregivers is one that inspired and comforted me in the most difficult time of our lives…

Meet Rachel Polsky

In 1997 Rachel Polsky was at the top of her game. She worked for Wendy’s corporate offices, and had an infant son and a new house. She had planned out her future years before and everything was going according to schedule. Then she started having trouble remembering names. Within hours she was also experiencing vision difficulties and was taken to the hospital. She and her husband Erick were interrogated to determine what illicit drug she was on. Nobody believed that something was really wrong until a CAT scan revealed what later turned out to be MS.

By the end of the week, Rachel had lost all language, along with the use of her right side. She had never heard of aphasia. Her son Ben celebrated his first birthday while visiting her in the hospital. She was told she would never walk again and that her language would probably not improve after a few weeks of therapy…