Cornerstones Residential Advisor participates in the 127th Boston Marathon to raise stroke awareness
Written by Sabrina Marshall || Business Development Manager
Celina McMichael has been a Therapeutic Residential Advisor at Cornerstones of Maine for three years. She is a caring mom to three (AKA a superhero!) and always engaging in something active and adventurous. She has a passion for health and wellness and has modeled this to her children who frequently go on hikes, snowboarding, and surfing adventures as a family. Celina also enjoys solo activities that promote physical well-being and regularly takes part in endurance races.
Most recently, she had the opportunity to participate in the 127th Boston Marathon for Tedy’s Team, a non-profit organization raising stroke awareness and supporting survivors, like Celina herself.
Something you would not know about Celina simply based on her appearance and demeanor is that she is a five-time stroke survivor. Her emotional and physical resiliency is such an inspiration to our team and clients and also reflects how important it is to take care of our bodies and stay committed to being active. She continues to share her story and educate others on the signs and symptoms of stroke, and since May is Stroke Awareness month, Celina and I sat down to talk about signs and symptoms to look out for and to hear more about her Boston Marathon experience!
What are the major signs and symptoms of stroke?
The BEFAST model is a great resource for warning signs of stroke. Stroke symptoms should be treated like a true emergency which is sometimes difficult, as symptoms do not always present as an emergency. Looking at the BEFAST model often and educating those around you is the best way to be prepared to help others and yourself. You can find a very thorough description of each symptom, ways to reduce stroke, and common risk factors here.
To read more about my personal stroke story, click here.
Tell us more about Tedy's team and how you got involved with the organization.
Tedy’s Team is a non-profit organization started by Tedy and Heidi Bruschi in 2005 after former New England Patriot Tedy suffered a stroke at the age of 31 at the height of his football career. Tedy’s Team has raised over eight million dollars to date and this number is growing!
I got started with Tedy’s Team through a simple application I found through the Boston Athletic Association. Somehow I missed finding Tedy’s Team previously but as soon as I figured out the mission I put everything I could into the application process. Heidi Bruschi called me directly and Tedy quickly got on the line to hear more about my story! Anyone with a connection to heart disease and stroke is a great candidate for the fundraising team.
How did the Boston Marathon opportunity come to fruition?
Tedy’s Team runs multiple marathons and other shorter distance races each year. Their biggest fundraising opportunity is the Boston Marathon. Other races include the New York City Marathon, New York City Half Marathon, Nashville Rock n Roll Marathon, and the list of races is growing!
I have had the opportunity to share my story with a wider audience and will continue doing so in order to help others understand strokes can happen to anyone at any time and the symptoms are not always as severe as you’d expect. I have raised $14,000 so far and have decided to stay on the team and run The New York City Marathon this year in early November. My goal is to be at or beyond $20,000 for stroke awareness by late October!
For a personal in-depth listen to my Boston Marathon experience, watch here:
One Night In Pinehurst- Boston Marathon Runner and stroke survivor, Celina McMichael
What was the best part of the experience? And the most challenging?
The best part was that the Boston team I ran with raised over $660,000 in just five months! I’ve personally raised about $15,000. These donations help fund current research, directly support stroke survivors in need of therapies and financial assistance, and spread general stroke awareness. Tedy’s Team recently donated one million dollars to open Tedy’s Team Center of Stroke Excellence at Mass General in Boston, I was fortunate enough to attend the ribbon cutting for this ceremony.
I am very driven to share my medical history and experience with others in order to help create change. This puts me out of my comfort zone as it includes public speaking. Speech and language are my primary deficits and I enjoy the challenge, it’s one of the only ways to overcome it. I’ll be speaking this fall at a local event for The American Heart Association.
The hardest part was overcoming the fear of running long distance again as a many time stroke surivor with no known cause. Deficits come to surface easier when I’m very tired and I thought my marathon training days were behind me. Through the support of the team, especially other stroke survivors like Tedy I realized I could cross the finish line safely!