HealthWatch: Stroke support group

Green Bay (WFRV) May is Stroke Awareness Month. Stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability. It not only changes the lives of those who have a stroke- but also their loved ones’ lives.
Aurora BayCare Medical Center offers stroke support group sessions to help patients and their loved ones navigate through the healing process.
Mitzi Kenneke loves mingling at the Stroke Support group at Aurora BayCare Medical Center, “Just meeting with that group it just gets you going again,” said Mitzi Kenneke, stroke survivor.
Mitzi suffered a stroke two years ago. It effected her walking and more, “Balance and your talking too,” explained Mitzi.
But through therapy Mitzi is getting better, “Now at least I can swim. Before I couldn’t swim again,” said Mitzi.
Mitzi decided to join the stroke support group, “Because I didn’t quite understand the stroke thing and I wanted to see what was going on,” said Mitzi.
Speech language pathologist Karen Floriano-Heimerl is one of the coordinators.  The group includes speakers and discussion groups, “The goal is to provide education to also provide an opportunity for social interaction and to give them an opportunity to connect with other people who have had strokes,” explained Karen Floriano-Heimerl, speech and language pathologist, support group coordinator, Aurora Baycare Medical center.
The group offers peer support, “That is one of the main goals of the group is that they learn from each other,” explained Floriano-Heimerl.
It also offers support for care givers, “The caregiver is going through a major change as well so this is an opportunity to connect with other caregivers,” said Floriano-Heimerl.
Aurora BayCare is sponsoring Strike Out for Stroke night at an upcoming Green Bay Bullfrogs game, “Five dollars of the ticket will go towards stroke camp,” said Floriano-Heimerl.
The Retreat and Refresh stroke camp is for survivors and caregivers to have a fun weekend outdoors, “There are things like fishing and boating, biking,” said Floriano-Heimerl.
Something Mitzi is looking forward to this summer, “I love camping and there is nothing like a campfire and singing that gets people going,” Mitzi said excitedly. 
Aurora BayCare Strikeout Stroke is the June 3rd Bullfrogs game at Joanne’s stadium in Green Bay.  It’s $15 dollars for a ticket and hat. For more information go to
The Stroke Support group meets every third Thursday from 10 am until 11:15 am at Aurora BayCare Sports Medicine Center. It is free and open to everyone.
To learn more you can call Aurora BayCare or email

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