It’s been said that certain people come into our lives for a reason and though we’re unsure of the purpose they serve and may be far from us through distance, they leave a charming footprint along the path we’re treading. One such individual in my life is the impeccable and kind-hearted, Carly Smithson.
Carly Smithson may have been on American Idol back in 2008 and won the hearts of many but she’s now the lead singer of the rock band, “We Are The Fallen” and in the famed Las Vegas show, Viva Elvis, singing her heart out to the tunes of Elvis Presley.
However, she isn’t just a songwriter or the lead singer of a rock band, she’s also one of the funniest, sweetest and bubbliest people I have come across so far in my life. Carly is always so welcoming and warm and when she hugs, it’s of sheer comfort, like you’re meeting an old friend. I had the chance to meet up with her last year in Toronto while she and her band held a show at the El Mocambo but prior to that, I had met her very briefly at the Idols Tour during the summer of 2008 at the Air Canada Centre. Though it was a quick meeting after the show, she was nothing short of kind and courteous to the fans and very cool despite the major heat wave hitting us that summer.
Since then, Carly and I have had the chance to correspond and get to know each other professionally but sometimes with work, the lines blur and a sort of friendship is formed and a mutual understanding. To me, she isn’t just “Carly Smithson: The Musician” – she’s more like, “Carly Smithson: The Buddy Gal Pal” who will talk hours and hours with you on the phone, diving into a whole bunch of fun subjects, laughing and being that friend you feel most comfortable with. She’s got one incredible heart that pours into every facet of her life and you can tell from the incandescent smiles she shoots, the thoughtfulness of her actions and the exultant warmth that emits off her.
This afternoon, I learned of some heartbreaking news from Carly. She shared with her fans via her Twitter, that she has been battling symptoms of stroke these past few years. Stroke is a “brain attack” which occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery or a blood vessel. Blood vessels are responsible for carrying blood from the heart to the body and when these vessels break, they interrupt blood flow to an area of the brain and cut off vital oxygen. When this happens, brain cells begin to die and brain damage could take place with abilities controlled by that area of the brain being affected such as speech, movement and memory.
The thing about strokes is that they can happen to anyone at any time. It’s the third leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of serious long-term adult disabilities.
With any health condition comes uncertainty but Carly has always put on a brave face and that’s another thing I’ve always admired about her. No matter what is thrown at her, professionally or personally, she’s been able to stand up and be firm, taking it one day at a time.
Ok guys so here it is!!! This means so much to me and I would be so grateful if you guys could help me raise $3000 dollars. My husband Todd is going to run the NYC marathon this Novembe . He will be a member of the National Stroke team and will run to raise money for their charity. Stroke has become very much a part of my life over the past few years and I have thrown myself into researching everything about it. I started experiencing mild symptoms while out on tour with my band We Are The Fallen last year and then when tour ended something a little more serious happened. Im still undergoing tests with my doctors and hope to never experience a full blown stroke. Since getting off tour Ive been able to surround myself with a wonderful medical team. I feel like im in good hands and hope to get back out on the road with my band sooner rather then later lol. Oh how I miss them all!!!! Anyway please help me raise the goal of 3k so Todd can run and I can meet him at the finish line :)
Love you guys!!!! Lets do this
Stroke affects a lot of people; over 795,000 Americans alone have suffered a stroke with the statistic that every 45 seconds, someone suffers from one. However, it is known that 80% of strokes are preventable but few know the symptoms of stroke. Learning them and acting quickly will help, should a situation ever occur to you or a loved one. Common symptoms are sudden loss of strength, weakness or numbness; difficulty speaking; sudden vision problems; sudden severe headache; and dizziness or loss of balance. The National Stroke Association has tips on how to be “F.A.S.T” when recognizing and responding to stroke symptoms.
When diagnosing a stroke, physicians will do physical examinations, check your blood pressure and listen to your heart. Blood tests will check how quickly your blood clots or if your blood sugars are normal. Often, brain imaging and CT scans give doctors a look at the depth of blood vessels in your brain and neck, checking for aneurysms or haemorrhages. There are numerous other imaging tests that may be drawn in to help your doctor confirm the diagnosis, including MRI tests in order to detect damaged brain tissue and echocardiography to see if any clots have travelled to your brain, causing a stroke.
It is important to get immediate medical attention as it improves the chances for survival and recovery from a stroke. If a stroke is caused by a blood clot, clot-busting medication can be administered. Other medications to treat a stroke include aspirin, blood thinners, and cholesterol and blood pressure medications. Sometimes, surgery is needed to remove the blood clots, repair blood vessels or remove plaque from the carotid artery.
Currently, there are clinical trials for stroke with many of these trials leading to advances in prevention and treatment. As a result, stroke no longer automatically results in disability or death as a clot-dissolving drug commonly referred as t-PA (tissue plasminogen activator) can reduce long term disability if given within hours of a stroke. The drug is not used as often as it could be since many don't seek medical treatment as quickly as they should but in order to receive t-PA or any other stroke treatment, you must get to a hospital fast so a doctor can quickly diagnose a stroke.
On November 6, 2011, Carly’s husband Todd Smithson will be taking part in The National Stroke Association’s ING New York City Marathon in support for his wife. The runners will trek 26.2 miles across the streets of New York City and this year’s team includes five stroke survivors, healthcare professionals, caregivers and family members of stroke survivors. In 2010, The National Stroke Association’s inaugural ING NYC Marathon team was a huge success, helping to raise over $103,000 for stroke. If you can donate anything, please see Todd’s pledge page at The National Stroke Association’s site and re-tweet Carly's tweet to help spread the word!
I personally cannot stand seeing or hearing that the people I love, admire and value are suffering and sometimes, they struggle silently. It’s just shattering and in these past few years, I’ve come to realize there’s more than meets the eye to us. We all have our stories and we all have our causes. I believe if you have a voice, or rather a soapbox to stand on, stand on it and use that voice! I may have been shaky in my confidence years ago, but one of my best friends so rightfully put it that I should speak up when something matters to me and to basically, be as loud as you can be. He believed in me, the same way Carly unyieldingly believes there is a way to rid stroke, not just for her but for the millions affected by this unreasonable condition.
I love Carly and I will always wish her the best in life. She’s a tough cookie and seriously, one of the most down-to-earth people I know. If you’d like to drop her a line, send her well wishes in these coming months, you can do so through Twitter by tweeting to: @CarlySmithson.
If you’re concerned that you or a loved one may be at risk for stroke, be sure to consult your doctor before taking any medication mentioned in this article and discuss the ways you could prevent factors for stroke. For more information, check out The National Stroke Association.
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