Kim Chadwell, a stroke survivor and resident of Dracut, will be amongst thousands this April to run the 121st Boston Marathon. While her eye will be set on the finish line for the grueling 26.2 miles, the real finish line for Chadwell, who is running as part of Tedy’s Team, led by former New England Patriots linebacker and stroke survivor, Tedy Bruschi, will be an end to stroke.
In April of 1969, when Chadwell was just 6 years-old, she fell off her chair in her first-grade class after suffering a stroke. The only thing that she remembers from that day was looking up at her teacher, seeing the expression on her face, and knowing something was wrong. While the stroke was of unknown etiology, Chadwell and her family did learn that she had a fifty percent cardiac artery occlusion that caused her to have the ischemic stroke.
While recovering from her stroke, Chadwell was able to come back to class and go on to second grade. Between the ages of 6 and 8, she was going to physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy so that she could fine tune everything.
“The first time I had met another stroke survivor was this Fall when I joined Tedy’s Team,” explained Chadwell. “It was healing to meet so many other survivors. The stories may be different, but the struggles of surviving and getting back to a new normal are the same.”
Today, Chadwell has been married for 29 years, has three children, four granddaughters and just welcomed her and her husband’s first grandson this February.
“I’m so thankful to be running the Boston Marathon as a part of this incredible team,” Chadwell said. “Living with stroke is certainly a game-changer, but it doesn’t need to sideline me from the life I want to live and the life I am able to live.”
On February 15, 2005, just weeks after winning his third Super Bowl and days after playing in the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, Tedy suffered a stroke at the age of 31. As he recovered, Tedy and his wife, Heidi, dedicated themselves to raising awareness of stroke and being advocates and inspiration for stroke survivors throughout Massachusetts, New England and all over the country.
Since its inception in 2005, Tedy’s Team has raised over $4.5 million for stroke research and educational programs with the support and dedication of close to 1,100 participants. This year’s team of 41 runners is on track to raise $465,000. In addition to raising funds, Tedy’s Team continues to raise awareness of stroke and its warning signs and symptoms.
On Monday, April 17, Chadwell and her teammates will be motivated by their stroke heroes as they tackle the 121st Boston Marathon®. They will celebrate the passion and inspiration of Tedy’s Team, honoring both the survivors and the loved ones lost to the region’s No. 5 leading cause of death. To support Kim’s fundraising efforts, visit http://honor.americanheart.org/goto/kimchadwell.
Know the Warning Signs of Stroke:
Stroke is a medical emergency. Know the warning signs of stroke and teach them to others.
• Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
• Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
• Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
• Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
• Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.
Call 9-1-1 immediately if you experience symptoms. Every second counts!