Stroke Recovery Program Celebrates 200 Patients

CINCINNATI— September 18, 2012—“I thought I was dreaming, but eventually I realized it was real and serious and I fought to survive,” said Kelly Marsh remembering that day in August 2009 when she suffered an acute hemorrhagic stroke at age 36. After a relaxing anniversary weekend in New Orleans, Kelly’s life changed forever when she collapsed at the GC/NKY airport. “A month later I woke up in a foreign place—the Drake Center. I could see family, doctors and nurses, but I couldn’t walk, talk or read,” she said. I also couldn’t move or feel my right arm, hand or leg, and my vision was limited.”  

Marsh is just one example of the 200 patients who have gone through the START Program—Stroke Team Assessment & Recovery Treatment. Drake Center is celebrating the occasion on September 19 with a 5:30 p.m. cookout where survivors will share their stories of recovery.

Founded in 2008, the innovative program is one of the first of its kind in the country that uses a stroke team of seven clinical specialists to assess patients who are months or even years post-stroke but passionate about a fuller recovery. The team outlines a personalized treatment plan for continued recovery.
“Traditional medical wisdom has told stroke patients that they have a few months to regain function before they need to accept and adapt to their new limitations,” says Brett Kissela, M.D., UC Health Neurologist and Co-Director of the Stroke Recovery Center at Drake Center, “but through our program many patients have made dramatic progress sometimes several years post-stroke,” he adds.

While the program does not promise miracles or a complete recovery, what sets it apart is that it goes beyond the standard treatments to take a fresh look from a combined expert perspective, and tests new treatments and tools to help stroke survivors reach the fullest recovery possible.

“Reaching our 200th patient milestone has given us reason to celebrate, but our biggest accomplishment is the difference we’ve made in their lives,” said Dr. Kissela. “It’s gratifying and motivating to see how far they’ve come, and we’re looking forward to the next 200.”

About Drake Center:  Drake Center, a member of UC Health, is the region’s premier provider of long-term acute care offering a complete range of inpatient and outpatient services including medically complex care, skilled nursing, assisted living, wellness services and research. For more information, call 513-418-2500 or visit

About UC Health:  UC Health is the University of Cincinnati’s affiliated health system. In addition to Drake Center, it includes University of Cincinnati Medical Center, ranked the best hospital in the region by US News and World Report; West Chester Hospital, Cincinnati’s newest hospital; UC Physicians, Cincinnati’s largest specialty practice group with 650 board-certified clinicians and surgeons; Lindner Center of HOPE, the region’s premier mental health center; the UC Cancer Institute, the UC Cardiovascular Institute; the UC Neuroscience Institute; and the UC Diabetes and Endocrinology Institute. To learn more, visit


Media Contact:
Mary Beth Puryear
Drake Center
513.315.1966 (mobile)

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