Weymouth resident and stroke survivor, Christopher Butts, will be amongst thousands this April to run the 121st Boston Marathon. While his eye will be set on the finish line for the grueling 26.2 miles, the real finish line for Butts, 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.
On July 6, 2014, Butts was at work when his vision was suddenly blurred while working on his computer. He put his head down for a few minutes and tried drinking some orange juice, but nothing helped. One of Butts’ colleagues, noticed that one side of his face was drooped and immediately recognized it as a sign of stroke and told him they needed to get to the hospital.
By the time he arrived at the hospital, Butts symptoms had gone away, which led doctors to believe that he was fine. After a CT scan failed to show signs of a stroke, Butts was told that he was fine, but should probably get a MRI just to be safe. It wasn’t until three weeks later that Butts was finally diagnosed with a stroke, but they weren’t sure what had caused it.
“The four to six months after my stroke were extremely difficult,” explained Butts. “I was struggling to find out what caused it, what I needed to do to prevent an additional stroke, and what that meant going forward.”
After seeing a cardiologist in December, Butts discovered that he had a small hole in his heart, called a patent foramen ovale, which had caused the stroke.
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.
“I’m looking forward to experiencing the crowd and atmosphere on Marathon Monday,” Butts said. “It will be bittersweet to cross the finish line as a survivor knowing that I’ve raised life-saving funds and awareness for the American Stroke Association that can be used to support other survivors.”
On Monday, April 17, Butts and his 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 Christopher’s fundraising efforts or learn more about his fundraiser, visit http://honor.americanheart.org/goto/Butts.
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!