Stroke Day: Leaving a Mark Via Spray Art


slokeladdermaskpaintingsmca600sizeAscension Seton and the American Heart Association hope a bold, 8’ x 8’ spray can art mural debuting on the front lawn of Ascension Seton Medical Center Austinwill foster public awareness about stroke, the fifth leading cause of death and No. 1 cause of disability in the U.S.

Thursday, October 29, marked World Stroke Awareness Day, when the global healthcare community comes together to shine a light on stroke. See photos from the event and a short video.

Austin aerosol artist Nathan ‘SLOKE’ Nordstrom is donating his time and talents to create the mural. He knows all too well what awareness can mean when it comes to stroke: he lost his father and a grandmother to it.

“My hope is that this bold, bright spray can art will grab people’s attention and create important, life-saving conversations,” Nordstrom said.

A stroke is a “brain attack” that occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off. It can strike anyone at any time.

The mural displays ‘F.A.S.T,’ the universal acronym for stroke symptoms. ‘F’ stands for facial drooping, ‘A’ for arm weakness, ‘S’ for speech difficulty and ‘T’ for time to call 9-1-1.

These are symptoms that University of Texas at Austin Sports Media Professor Stephen Willeis all too familiar with. Wille suffered a stroke while he was at home last September.

“The symptoms came on quickly – I had a headache and then, all of a sudden, I fell to the ground and couldn’t get up,” Wille recalled.

Fortunately for Wille, quick response times by all those involved in his treatment and newer, state-of-the-art clot therapies gave him a second chance at life.

warachspeakingartCROPPED350sizeDr. Steven Warach, medical director of Seton’s Stroke Institute and a professor of neurology at Dell Medical School, noted that some of the newest stroke treatments at Ascension Seton focus on the clock.

“Time is critical when it comes to treatment – every second counts,” he said. “Fortunately, we have some of the latest, most effective treatments and we’re continuing to study newer ones that will better serve Central Texans who suffer from this often debilitating condition.”

The Stroke Institute has expanded its program to include designated stroke treatment floors at Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin and University Medical Center Brackenridge and enhanced its clinical and research divisions. It is currently conducting clinical trials to study newer treatments for acute stroke and stroke prevention.

“The American Heart Association is proud to partner with Ascension Seton and Nathan ‘SLOKE’ Nordstrom for World Stroke Awareness Day,” Ann Jerome, executive director of the Austin chapter of the American Heart Association, said. “Every four minutes, someone in our country dies from a stroke. Those are sobering statistics, but we know education and awareness can help create change.”

Other Stroke Facts (according to the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association):

  • In 2010, worldwide prevalence of stroke was 33 million, with 16.9 million people having a first stroke. Stroke was the second-leading global cause of death behind heart disease, accounting for 11% of total deaths worldwide.
  • As the No. 5 cause of death in the U.S., strokes kill nearly 129,000 people a year.
  • African-Americans face nearly twice the risk for a first-ever stroke compared to Caucasians, and a much higher death rate from stroke.
  • Over the past 10 years, the death rate from stroke has fallen about 35 percent and the number of stroke deaths has dropped about 21 percent.
  • About 795,000 people have a stroke every year in the U.S.
  • Someone in the U.S. has a stroke every 40 seconds.
  • Stroke causes 1 of every 20 deaths in the U.S.
  • Stroke is a leading cause of disability.
  • Stroke is the leading preventable cause of disability.