Johan deRoos’ Story

Johan deRoos has always loved travel and adventure. In fact, in May 2006 he joined the working crew of the Stad Amsterdam, a 250-foot clipper, for a voyage across the Atlantic. But Johan faced his greatest challenge ever three months later, when he suffered a serious stroke while working at home.

Johan, 55, has come a long way siaftermath. The stroke affected Johan’s right side, and the communication center of his brain. It resulted in aphasia, a condition that impairs his ability to speak fluently. Johan’s wife, Susan, has been his coach and advocate through every aspect of care at Drake Center – the month of inpatient therapy, the many months of outpatient therapy, and the five research projects in which Johan has participated.

“Drake Center has helped us see that the road to recovery for stroke survivors doesn’t have a stop sign at the end,” she says. “Doctors, therapists and researchers here appreciate Johan’s adventuresome side, and they are constantly working with us to find new ways of challenging him so that he can keep getting better.”

Johan says he jumped at the opportunity to participate in clinical research at Drake. It’s a chance to help others, he explains – and potentially speed his recovery. After one study, for instance, Susan says his gait function improved by about 30%. “Some people still think that stroke survivors can’t improve after a certain point,” she says. “But here we are two-and-a-half years later, and we are still seeing gains in Johan’s strength, balance and speech. He is proof positive that there’s always hope.”

Johan still spends a lot of time at Drake Center, continuing his outpatient therapy, attending Stroke Survivors Support Group meetings and participating in research. His latest endeavor is to take tennis lessons from a local pro, and he and Susan have resumed their world travels. This year’s schedule includes trips to Aruba, Holland and Prague- more proof that Johan and Susan are continuing to live their lives to the fullest.

 

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