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Laura Hall will be among thousands this April to run the 122nd Boston Marathon. While her eye will be set on the finish line of the grueling 26.2-mile race, the real finish line for the Westwood resident is an end to stroke.
Laura is running the marathon in honor of her husband and stroke hero, Ned, who suffered a non-fatal stroke in 2013, when he was 35. She is running as a member of Tedy’s Team, an endurance training team led by retired New England Patriot Tedy Bruschi, who suffered a stroke in 2005. All proceeds raised by Tedy’s Team go to the American Stroke Association.
Laura vividly remembers the day when her husband suffered his stroke.
It started off like any other morning. Ned was making breakfast with his son on Presidents’ Day, when he suddenly felt lightheaded and dizzy. He left the room to sit down, but when Laura saw him and asked what he was doing, his response was jumbled. Moments later, his left hand went numb and he developed a headache. Ned’s symptoms subsided, however, and he went sledding in the backyard with his children before calling his doctor.
“Because he was young and healthy, [a stroke] wasn’t on anyone’s radar,” said Laura.
After weeks of doctors’ appointments and multiple tests, Ned and Laura were told that he had suffered two strokes, but his doctors weren’t sure what had caused them. Another few weeks of appointments and tests went by before they learned that the strokes were caused by a patent foramen ovale (PFO) – a hole in his heart.
In May of last year, Ned had heart surgery to close the hole.
“The finish line of the marathon will be a few blocks away from the hospital where Ned had his surgery,” said Laura. “Being that close to the hospital and having Ned in the stands at the finish line will be an emotional moment for me.”
Laura said she is proud to be raising money for the American Stroke Association by running the marathon as a member of Tedy’s Team.
On February 15, 2005, just weeks after winning his third Super Bowl and days after playing in the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, Bruschi suffered a stroke. He was 31. As he recovered, Bruschi and his wife, Heidi, dedicated themselves to raising awareness of stroke and being advocates and inspirations for stroke survivors.
Since its inception in 2005, Tedy’s Team has raised over $4.5 million for stroke research and educational programs with the support and dedication of more than 1,100 participants. In addition to raising funds, Tedy’s Team continues to raise awareness of stroke and its warning signs and symptoms.
“Sharing our story and helping raise awareness of stroke is important to our family,” said Laura. “We want to make something good out of the situation and speak up about stroke.”
On Monday, April 16, Laura and her teammates will be motivated by their stroke heroes when they hit the pavement for the marathon. They will celebrate the passion and inspiration of Tedy’s Team, honoring both survivors and the loved ones lost to the region’s No. 5 leading cause of death. The runners are taking a critical step toward raising awareness of stroke and its warning signs, as well as raising much needed funds for local research and educational programs.
To support Laura’s fundraising efforts, visit http://honor.americanheart.org/goto/lhall.