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Stroke rates in western New York are among the highest in the state, affecting 14 people of 1,000.
Area hospitals have formed the Stroke Treatment Alliance or STAR, to improve care and raise awareness.
"This involves initiatives to look at our outcomes together," said University of Rochester Medical Center Babak Jahromi, M.D., Ph.D., "Look at our best practices. Whatever works best at one site, we try to import to our other hospitals."
Stroke patients are also getting younger.
"Half the strokes occur in patients who are younger than 69," said Jahromi, M.D., Ph.D., "More then 20-percent of strokes occur in patients younger than 55."
Patients like Christina Goodermote, who was 39 when she had a stroke in her sleep.
"Had a normal dinner, had no symptoms, had a normal day at work," said Christina Goodermote, a mother of three and stroke survivor. "And the next day I woke up in the hospital."
Goodermote had to relearn to speak, write, and walk. Today, she has an orange belt in Karate; she rides a bicycle, drives a sports car, and is able to watch her three kids grow.
"I believe it was just my own perseverance or maybe it was the faith that I had that I wasn't going to be 39 years old and I didn't want to be left unable to do things," said Goodermote.
Survivor stories, like Goodermote's, will be shared on Thursday at the STAR's community education event. It's an event organizers hope will raise the awareness about stroke causes, prevention and surviving as an individual and a family after a stroke.
The free event is at the Hyatt Regency. To register, call 585-275-8344. Space is limited.