Madison stroke survivor shares story to bring hope to others

Published: Oct. 27, 2017 at 9:47 PM CDT
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According to World Stroke Campaign, every six seconds someone dies from a stroke. That's why UW Health is encouraging the conversation about World Stroke Day, October 29.

Ten years ago, Eric Sarno had just finished his 3rd Ironman Triathlon when his life changed forever. He had a procedure done for back pain and ended up getting really sick afterwards and a clot formed in a his brain. That led to a hemorrhage and then a stroke.

"It was like the perfect storm for what happened," said Sarno.

He suffered from a hemorrhagic stroke.

"The left side of my body was paralyzed for probably about a month and a half," said Sarno. "In one of my surgeries, the right side of my skull had to be removed... I ended up with an infection. A plastic or synthetic bone flap had to be... attached... I had to learn how to read, write and drive and everything all over again pretty much."

Slowly, he started to get better after going through two months in the hospital and seven months of rehab all day everyday. Now, years later, he has turned from patient to providing support through a volunteer group helping patients with brain injuries.

Dr. Robert Dempsey with UW Health said, to help avoid a stroke, it is crucial to know your risk factors.

"Many of the things you were taught as children are true. Moderation in all things. Never smoke. Know your cholesterol. Know your blood pressure. These simple steps do so much to avoid a stroke," said Dempsey.

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Copyright 2017: WMTV