Last Saturday, two-time stroke survivor and Newport Beach resident Michelle
Wulfestieg, 32, threw out the first pitch at Angel’s Stadium as
part of the “Strike Out Stroke Day,” a partnership between
the Angels and Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian intended to raise awareness
about the signs of stroke and the urgency of treatment.
Wulfestieg is Executive Director of Southern California Hospice Foundation,
and recently co-founded a motivational speaking tour and community education
initiative called Live Life After Stroke (LLAS), which is an affiliate
of the Hospice Foundation.
During the Angels vs. Astros game, leaders from Hoag, St. Joseph Health,
Angels Baseball, Genetech and the Retreat and Refresh Stroke Camp were
on hand to educate the public about the symptoms of stroke and the urgency
The Retreat and Refresh Stroke Camp developed Strike Out Stroke Day as
a way to partner with Major and Minor league baseball to promote stroke awareness
and recovery. By bringing stroke education to a wide and engaged audience,
Strike Out Stroke is able to reach a large and diverse audience about
the warning signs of stroke, known by the acronym FAST.
“FAST stands for face, arm, speech and time. If you suspect someone
is having a stroke, ask them to smile; if one side of their face droops,
that’s a sign of stroke. Similarly, if they try to lift both arms,
but one drifts downwards, that’s another sign. Slurred speech can
also be a symptom. If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately.
Time is essential to limiting or reversing the impact of stroke,”
said David Brown, M.D., Program Director of Hoag Stroke Program.
Major League Baseball has seen its share of strokes. In 1980, for instance,
Houston Astros player J.R. Richard suffered a stroke and collapsed while
playing a game of catch before a game. He was rushed to the hospital for
emergency surgery to remove a life-threatening blood clot in his neck
and survived, but his Major League career ended.