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St. Mary Hosts Take Action Cut Stroke Awareness Educational Event
Featuring Inspirational Speaker Henry Winkler

LANGHORNE, PA., May 1, 2012 – St. Mary Medical Center will host “Take Action | Cut Stroke,” a health educational event, on Saturday, May 19, from noon to 4 p.m. at The Sheraton Bucks County Hotel. The free program features internationally known director, producer, actor and best-selling author Henry Winkler as the keynote inspirational speaker. Winkler’s mother suffered a stroke and was left with permanent disabilities until her death in 1997. Winkler, who may be most remembered for his epic role as “The Fonz” in Happy Days, will highlight decisive moments in his personal life and uniquely successful career with an engaging style and sense of humor that are remarkably his own.

Shirleen Allicot, the co-anchor of Action News at 4 p.m., is the celebrity emcee for the event. Allicot joined the Action News team in May 2010 as a reporter and recently served as host for the annual gala “Stars For Stroke” sponsored by the Delaware Valley Stroke Council.

Among the distinguished speakers are Dr. Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, an endovascular neurosurgeon with Jefferson Neurosurgical Associates at St. Mary Medical Center. The physician will provide valuable medical insight to the inspiring stories of stroke survivors scheduled to speak about their personal experiences with stroke and recovery.

Musical entertainment includes Rejoice, a contemporary religious rock group from Lutheran Church of God’s Love in Newtown, PA, and the Chosen Elect, a high-energy gospel choir from Philadelphia.

Those attending the event will be encouraged to participate in the free stroke screenings available before and after the speaker program. Screenings will include blood pressure checks and discussions to identify personal risk factors and lifestyle changes that could help prevent a stroke.

Information about additional services that benefit the health of the community will be available in an educational forum outside the screening area. Staff members from The Wellness Center, LIFE St. Mary, Trauma Prevention, and Physical Therapy will be among those to offer information and answer questions about health and medical concerns.

St. Mary Medical Center is one of the region’s first stroke centers to have gained the Gold Seal of Approval for stroke care from the Joint Commission. St. Mary also received the Gold Plus Performance Award for Stroke from The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. This quality distinction recognizes consistent achievement in using evidence-based guidelines to provide the highest standards of quality care.

St. Mary’s Comprehensive Stroke Center and its multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals offer patients an integrated emergency rapid-response team to recognize and treat stroke as quickly as possible.

“People need to understand that stroke always is a medical emergency for which they need to seek immediate medical attention,” says Dr. Tjoumakaris . “Stroke victims have a time-limited window of opportunity to seek emergency care, preferably at a designated stroke center that can provide access to the newest and most advanced treatments for stroke in order to have the best possible outcome and reduce the lasting effects of stroke.”

Last year, St. Mary expanded its Neurosciences Center with the opening of state-of-the-art Endovascular Neurosurgery and Operating Suites and a new ICU with dedicated Neurosciences Care. These advances allow neurosurgeons to use minimally invasive techniques to reach previously inaccessible areas of the brain, treat the most complex strokes at later stages, prevent hemorrhages, and help reverse brain damage before it becomes permanent.

Last month, St. Mary made history in being the first Neurosciences Center in the tri-state area to use the Solitaire Flow Restoration Device to retrieve a blood clot in the brain of an 84-year-old man suffering a major stroke.

“Many people do not know that the devastating effects of stroke can be mitigated or prevented through specialized treatment,” adds Dr. Tjoumakaris. “Education is the key, and that’s why we want people to take action and cut their risk of stroke.”

The risk of stroke is higher for those with heart-related medical problems, such as high blood pressure, heart or carotid artery disease, and other health-related problems, such as obesity and uncontrolled diabetes. Other risk factors include smoking, excessive alcohol use, drug abuse, physical inactivity, family history, and age – those who are 55 and older are at the greatest risk.