DALLAS, May 20, 2020 — Recovering after a stroke is difficult, even in the best of times. For the 7 million stroke survivors across the U.S., the coronavirus has made a hard time worse. To answer survivors’ most urgent questions, the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association, has issued a four-part podcast series with medical experts and stroke survivors.

“Stroke survivors may face an increased risk for complications if they become infected with the COVID-19 virus, and so practicing social distancing is very important,” says Mitch Elkind, M.D., M.S., FAAN, FAHA,  president-elect of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and a professor of neurology and epidemiology at Columbia University in New York City. “Even before the pandemic, stroke could be an isolating condition. Families impacted by stroke experience the isolation and the changes in routine, differently.”

Currently, four episodes of the podcast, moderated by Emmy Award-winning news anchor and journalist Carey Peña, are available:

  • Stroke and COVID-19: This episode features stroke survivor Christopher Ewing and Elkind. Ewing shares his story and the concerns he and fellow stroke survivors in Southern California have about how COVID-19 may affect them. Elkind addresses stroke survivors’ COVID-19-related health risks and how stroke survivors can reduce their risks and stay healthy during the pandemic
  • Staying Emotionally Well: This episode features stroke survivor Rachel Scanlon Henry and Dr. Kimberly McGuire, a clinical psychologist at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange, New Jersey. Henry shares her lengthy emotional recovery following her stroke and how it has better equipped her to weather the COVID-19 pandemic. McGuire addresses how stroke survivors can reduce anxiety and stress and get emotional support during this difficult time.
  • Staying Active at Home: Physical activity is important to keep stroke survivors healthy and prevent another stroke. But the COVID-19 pandemic might make it hard to attend physical therapy or stay active. In our third podcast, survivor Kelly Fucheck shares how her physical transformation after stroke is helping her during this crisis and Dr. Rani Whitfield answers questions and shares resources for keeping active — even while staying at home.
  • Overcoming Unexpected Financial Challenges Caused by Stroke and COVID-19: Stroke can be financially devastating, just as the COVID-19 pandemic is for many families. In the fourth podcast in our series, stroke survivor and CNBC Senior Personal Finance Correspondent Sharon Epperson answers questions and provides valuable information about how to emerge from the latest national crisis as financially healthy as possible. Survivor Aqualyn Kennedy describes how she has confronted financial challenges along her recovery journey.

Listen to the free podcast series on life after stroke and COVID-19 at stroke.org.

Get the latest American Stroke Association information and recommendations on COVID-19 at stroke.org/COVID19.


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 strokeassociation.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For Media Inquiries:

Alexson Calahan, Alexson.calahan@heart.org, 515-994-0772

For Public Inquiries:

1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

1-888-4-STROKE (478-7653) (Stroke Family Warmline)

heart.org and stroke.org