Medical research has given our communities more than just innovative treatments. It has brought us the powerful stories of patients and their families who bravely battle cardiovascular disease and stroke every day.
When high school student Ryley Williams collapsed at football practice, doctors discovered he had suffered from multiple strokes on the left side of his brain. Thankfully, he was rushed into emergency surgery to decrease the swelling caused by the strokes. That surgery saved his life.
How could this happen, Ryley wondered, when he was only 15 years old and in his prime? Doctors had no answers.
Since then the road to recovery has been long and difficult. Ryley spent weeks in the hospital with feeding tubes and IVs to fight infection, and began rehabilitative therapy. Nearly two years later, he continues to go through speech and physical therapy, relearning to walk and talk. Although progress has been slow, Ryley has remained optimistic that through the support of his loved ones and the medical community, he can regain his life.
Sadly, stories like Ryley’s are all too common—795,000 men and women in the U.S. suffer from a stroke every year, and that number is expected to grow. Many of us are part of that number or know someone who is. That’s why it’s so important that medical research at institutions like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is properly funded—so that new advancements in treatment can be created to help all of us live a better life after stroke, or prevent it in the first place.
For the past few weeks, we’ve shared how important funding is for medical research and asked Congress to make funding a priority. Now, we want to hear how medical research has had an impact on your life (or could, if it were funded). Show your support for more NIH funding by sharing your story here.
Together, we can inspire lawmakers to make research a priority in 2015.