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Celebrating National Stroke Awareness Month: Gwen Jackson's Journey

Celebrating National Stroke Awareness Month: Gwen Jackson's Journey

Celebrating National Stroke Awareness Month: Gwen Jackson's Journey

Gwen Jackson was always heavily involved in her local community in Houston, Texas. From working with the homeless population to starting a cancer foundation in memory of her father, Gwen found her purpose in life: to take care of others. Gwen’s mother and sisters described her energetic and always on the go, never missing an opportunity to visit them before returning to her next volunteer shift or work appointment.

However, Gwen’s life changed when the COVID-19 pandemic began. Gwen was diagnosed with COVID and then cervical cancer. She experienced two strokes and a mild heart attack. Her cognitive abilities, physical mobility, vision and mental health were severely impaired as a result.

Gwen came to the Centre for Neuro Skills’ (CNS) Houston clinic in March 2022, where she began counseling, speech therapy, education, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. Through counseling, Gwen discovered she had anxiety and depression. “I’m a case manager, and I know how important it is to touch individuals’ lives with the work I do every day. Now I’m in [the patient’s] seat,” she said in appreciation of her counselors at CNS. Gwen had been accustomed to caring for others her whole life and now realized the importance of letting others help her during her rehabilitation.

CNS group therapy allows patients to relearn social skills while receiving treatment with their peers. When Gwen took her first steps after spending months in a wheelchair, other patients in the room cheered her on in support. “The patients here are like family. When one of us takes that first step, we’re all taking that step together,” she said.

Gwen is now excited to return home and spend time with her family and grandchildren. Gwen has regained her independence and confidence; she can dress, eat and take public transportation independently. She has learned new technology skills from her therapists, setting reminders for herself as she continues to work on her memory. Gwen hopes to return to case management one day, but in the meantime is learning to appreciate the little moments in life.

Watch Gwen's meaningful journey here.