Shirley Rose

The American Stroke Foundation
Purpose Prize Fellow 2006

Giving hope to stroke survivors and those who care for them

When her husband died after suffering a series of strokes, Shirley Rose, at age 77, founded the American Stroke Foundation (ASF) to provide stroke survivors and their families in the Kansas City area the support, training, and mentoring for both survivors and caregivers, which were not available in Kansas City (or anywhere else in the nation, as she later discovered.) She and her husband had felt at loose ends after his early strokes–he had been simply sent home after limited rehabilitation with few resources and no expectations. Rose’s vision was to provide ongoing support and therapy, after traditional rehabilitation had ended, to improve the quality of life for survivors. Since 1997, the Foundation has built two thriving stroke activity centers, serving hundreds of stroke survivors of all ages. In addition to critical peer-support and a breadth of programs, nursing, physical therapy, and occupational therapy students from local universities work with stroke survivors, helping them regain skills in a compassionate and supportive environment where they find hope. Classes are offered in verbal communication, reading, writing, math, physical strengthening and fitness, computer skills, and music. Additionally, support groups are available for both caregivers and stroke survivors. ASF has also become a national resource center for stroke and brain injury, answering the myriad of questions that stroke survivors and their families continue to have.