HEALTHBEAT 4: Stroke survivor shares benefits of Stroke Camp - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

HEALTHBEAT 4: Stroke survivor shares benefits of Stroke Camp

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) -

Stroke is the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States. Each year, almost 800,000 people suffer a stroke.

One of those victims, is Contessa Siders. She suffered her stroke just two weeks after her grandmother did. It's something Contessa never thought would happen to her... especially at such a young age. "I did not think that it was going to happen to me, because I was, at the time, only 33," said Contessa Siders, stroke survivor.

The stroke has shaken Contessa's life, in more ways than one. "It has changed my life, because I can't talk, it is hard to read, and write," said Siders. "Words up here, don't come out here."

One thing that helps Contessa cope with the feelings and things she has to deal with, is Stroke Camp. One weekend every year, the Camp brings victim's and their loved ones together for a getaway. "It really is a time for them to not only relax, but we have had survivors and spouses who haven't had their nails done in two years,"  said Nicole Shea, Stroke Program Manager at Mercy Medical Center.

The camp provides games, a dance, spa treatments, campfires, and crafts among other things. Campers also connect with other survivors to learn and gain strength from one another. "In the survivor discussions, they are discussions about 'what are we struggling with? What are we struggling with physically, and emotionally?" said Shea. 

The goal of the camp is to help survivors and caregivers improve their quality of life. And for Contessa Siders, her goal at Stroke Camp is to let go of the pain she has to live with every day.

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