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Charles Stanley’s Story

“Take care of yourself. Get moving, lose weight, stop smoking—these steps will help people avoid a stroke.”

—Charles Stanley, stroke survivor

Linda Stanley awoke to a loud noise in her home but was puzzled because she knew her husband Charles should have been at work. She searched the house and called his name, but she didn’t hear a response. When she entered the living room, she found Charles lying on the floor. His work truck was still idling in the driveway. Linda wasted no time calling 9-1-1.

It turned out that Charles, who is African American, had a stroke, even though he was only 52 years old. African-American men are at a greater risk of stroke than any other group of men and have strokes at younger ages.

“At first, I couldn’t do anything. People on TV sounded like they were speaking a strange language,” Charles remembers. “I got so frustrated!”

Charles spent 3 days in the intensive care unit and 4 weeks in a rehabilitation center. He worked with therapists to learn how to read, write, and walk again.

Charles realized that he had to make some changes in his lifestyle to avoid another stroke. He lost nearly 100 pounds and worked with his health care team to get his blood pressure under control. He also changed his eating habits and does an hour of cardio exercise every day.

Charles and Linda have advice for others at risk for stroke. “Take care of yourself. Get moving, lose weight, stop smoking—these steps will help people avoid a stroke,” Charles recommends. His wife adds, “Know the signs of stroke. Be ready to call 9-1-1 if you think someone’s having a stroke.”

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