DALLAS, April 26, 2021 – The American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary health organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular disease and stroke, is honoring stroke survivors, heath care professionals and family caregivers from around the U.S. through the annual Stroke Hero Awards. The winners of the Stroke Hero Awards demonstrate that resilience in the face of change is possible and should be celebrated.

Winners include:

  • Voters’ Choice Hero: Michael Keeble, Quakertown, Penn. Since the stroke he suffered at birth nearly three years ago, Michael has been a fighter. He works hard every day to overcome the effects of his stroke, and his perseverance inspires everyone he meets. His family raises awareness and funds for perinatal stroke.
  • Group Heroes: American Stroke Foundation, Overland Park, Kan. The American Stroke Foundation had to go virtual with its “Next Step” program during the COVID-19 pandemic. But with support from volunteers, health care professionals and academic institutions, the program is still providing its services to stroke survivors and their care partners.
  • Pediatric Hero: Sarah Weiss, Omaha, Neb. At just 11 years old, an active Sarah Weiss couldn’t imagine having a stroke. But she did—while swimming. Since recovering, Weiss, now 15, has been on a mission to raise awareness of stroke warning signs and how to respond to a stroke. She’s also sharing her story through local American Heart Association/American Stroke events.
  • Caregiver Hero: Mark Matasic, Campbell, Ohio. For a gut-wrenching year, Mark Matasic cared for his dad after a severe brain stem stroke left him completely paralyzed. Then, when his father died, Mark became an advocate for caregivers and Ohioans to get critical care for stroke as quickly as possible.
  • Support Group Heroes: Penn State Hershey Stroke Support Group, Hershey, Penn.. For the past 34 years, the Penn State Hershey Stroke Support Group has inspired many stroke survivors and caregivers. Members also raise awareness of stroke throughout Hershey, Pennsylvania by participating in community events, distributing stroke warning signs pocket cards and sharing their stroke journeys.
  • Survivor Hero: Judy Crane, Millersville, Md. A stroke abruptly interrupted Judy Crane’s life at age 47. When she recovered, she became an ardent advocate for stroke survivors. Judy has partnered with Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis to develop multiple programs for survivors. She shares her experience to give others hope.

Winners were selected by a panel of volunteer judges from the American Stroke Association, with the exception of the Voter’s Choice Award, which was selected via online votes. Winners receive a plaque and have their story featured on stroke.org and on the American Stroke Association’s social media accounts.

Strokes don’t discriminate. They can happen to anyone, at any age. About one in four people worldwide will have one in their lifetime. [1]

For more information, visit www.Stroke.org/HeroAwards.


About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

About the American Stroke Association

The American Stroke Association is a relentless force for a world with fewer strokes and longer, healthier lives. We team with millions of volunteers and donors to ensure equitable health and stroke care in all communities. We work to prevent, treat and beat stroke by funding innovative research, fighting for the public’s health, and providing lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based association was created in 1998 as a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-888-4STROKE or visit stroke.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For media inquiries:

American Heart Association

Alexson Calahan: 515-994-0772 or Alexson.calahan@heart.org


[1] https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1804492?query=featured_home