Dear Editor,

When I suffered a stroke at age 28, I didn’t realize that a stroke could happen to me.  After suffering from dizzy spells and blurred vision, my in-laws insisted that I go to the hospital.  If they hadn’t insisted that I go right away, I may not have been able to get help in time.

It’s frightening that many people don’t know the signs of a stroke or decide to delay calling 911 when they spot the tell-tale signs.  Whether you’re in denial or you feel you are “too busy” to call for help, no excuse is worth risking your life.  I want people to know that every second counts during a stroke and stroke is treatable if you get help FAST.

If you spot the signs of stroke in yourself or someone else, call 911 immediately.  No excuses.

I’m joining together with the American Stroke Association for World Stroke Day on October 29, to raise awareness for the warning signs of stroke and what to do. I hope you’ll join us in learning and sharing the simple acronym F.A.S.T. for stroke: If you see (F)ace drooping, (A)rm weakness, or (S)peech difficulty, it’s (T)ime to call 9-1-1.

I was saved because my family insisted that I get help and I was able to get treatment in time. Please learn F.A.S.T. in case someone, someday needs you to do the same.

Respectfully,

Catherine Zalewski

Volunteer, American Stroke Association

Marlboro, NJ