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Stroke of Luck
By Liberty Hospital
If 16-year-old Parker Davis hadn’t known the signs of a stroke, his mother, Teri Ackerson, might not be alive today.
While driving home from a coffee shop on Memorial Day 2013, Teri — a registered nurse who is the stroke program manager at Liberty Hospital — began experiencing the signs of a stroke, including facial droop, loss of feeling and use of her left arm and loss of speech.
“I was only 43,” she said. “All I could think was, ‘This can’t be happening to me,’ but it was.”
Just 16 at the time, Parker immediately recognized the signs of a stroke. They were able to stop the car and switch places. “He drove me to the nearest primary stroke care center just a half a mile away,” Teri said. “He saved my life that day.”
Within seven minutes, Teri was at the hospital where she received life-saving treatment with a clot-dissolving drug. That quick action made all the difference in her treatment and recovery, she said. She never had known she had a hole in her heart and atrial fibrillation, an irregular and often rapid heart rate that can cause poor blood flow to the body. That combination could have been deadly. Instead, Teri walked out of the hospital three days later.
An avid runner, Teri wasn’t going to let a stroke knock her down. She continued with plans to run in a marathon — just 26 days after her stroke. Since her stroke, she has completed three more marathons and has four scheduled this year.
“I will run each one in honor of the men, women and families that stroke affects,” she said.
In addition to her work at Liberty Hospital, Teri serves as a national speaker for the American Heart Association and Genentech, the company that makes the clot-dissolving drug she received. She is available to speak with area groups. Call her at 816-407-4611 for more information.
You can use an image available from the American Heart Association that says FAST or use the acronym:
Time to call 911.