Debra Meyerson honored with 2023 Stroke Survivor Hero Award

by Contributed Content on May 21, 2023

Ladera resident Debra Meyerson was named the American Stroke Association’s (ASA) 2023 Stroke Survivor Hero in recognition of her efforts to use her experience as a stroke survivor to bring awareness, education, and inspiration to people across the country.

More than 800,000 people across the US have a stroke every year, leaving many with permanently changed lives and Debra has worked tirelessly to bring awareness to stroke and its impact on one’s identity.

“I’m honored to win this award and want to share it with all the people who have supported me in my recovery,” commented Debra. “I only hope the work we’re doing can make recovery easier, more complete, and more rewarding for all stroke survivors in the future.”

In 2010, Debra was a healthy, fit mother of three, working as a professor at Stanford University, when she suffered a severe stroke that changed her life forever. The once-active 53-year-old was left unable to work, speak, or be physically active in the ways she once was. Despite years of intensive therapy, she was left with disabilities, including aphasia, a communication disorder that makes it hard for her to speak the thoughts that are clear in her head, which forced her from her job at Stanford.

Debra refused to let these disabilities stop her from living her life to the fullest and with help from her husband Steve Zuckerman, son Danny Zuckerman, and others, wrote Identity Theft: Rediscovering Ourselves After Stroke, an inspiring look at the emotional journey of stroke recovery. The book includes not only Debra’s story but also those of more than 55 survivors, family members, and healthcare providers she interviewed and her insights as a social scientist who has studied identity for years.

Concurrent with the launch of Identity Theft, Debra and Steve co-founded the nonprofit Stroke Onward to ensure stroke survivors and their supporters have the resources needed to support the emotional journey of stroke recovery. Stroke Onward is organizing its efforts through a three-pronged strategy: raising awareness, creating and sharing resources, and driving institutional change. Current projects include developing and sharing resources to support survivors and their loved ones with the steps to rebuild a rewarding life, one filled with meaning, purpose, and pleasure.

One Comment

Ardan Michael Blum May 21, 2023 at 10:12 pm

Such a wonderful award!! I am sure it means a great deal to Ms Meyerson.

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