The threat of a stroke isn’t on the minds of most 16-year-olds, but then again, Dra Bishop wasn’t most 16-year-olds. A star basketball player at Bentonville High School, Dra was more physically fit and healthy than most of his classmates. But on the morning of May 26th, 2018, Dra felt sluggish and weak.
Dra’s mom, Angela Copeland, noticed her son’s lack of energy, but Dra powered through two games in Tulsa that day. Later that evening, as Dra started feeling worse, he joked with his mom, “I think I’ve had a stroke.” Two hours later they were at Mercy Hospital. Dra had fallen three times on his way to the shower, his face was drooping, and he couldn’t speak. On the recommendation of the hospital staff, Dra was airlifted to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock and by 1AM a stroke care team was working to remove a blood clot in Dra’s brain.
It hasn’t been an easy road back for Dra. He spent three weeks in the hospital undergoing physical therapy before being discharged, and more when he got home. About three months after his stroke, Dra returned to school for his junior year and hopes to play basketball again. Dra’s had a lot of people in his corner: his teachers and coach at Bentonville High School, an excellent Stroke Team at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and UAMS, and - maybe most importantly - his mom Angela who has supported every step of Dra’s recovery.
With his Mom’s help, Dra is now giving all that love and support back to his community. As one of the American Heart Association’s youngest survivors and advocates, Dra has become a powerful voice for other survivors in Arkansas and the rest of the country. This Spring, Dra and his mom attended the American Heart Association’s Survivor Gallery and Lobby Day, where Dra spoke to legislators about his experience and the importance of funding stroke research, stroke designations, and the stroke registry.
The American Heart Association is proud and grateful to have Dra and Angela speak on behalf of the millions of victims of heart disease and stroke. They, and you, are the Cure.