On August 22, Chuck Urban, 51, woke up thinking it would be a typical Tuesday, but that morning he felt anything but normal. Despite being nauseous and having a headache for no apparent reason, Chuck got out of bed to help his boys, ages 10 and 12, get ready for school just like he would on any other weekday. While he tried to push through his symptoms in order to complete his morning routine, they continued to worsen.
“I started slurring my words, not all of them, but every once in a while. I wasn’t speaking right and felt weak in general, specifically on my left side,” he said. “It was scary.”
He confided in his wife, Katy, about his on-set symptoms and together made the quick decision to go to Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (TMH), home to the region’s only Comprehensive Stroke Center.
When they arrived, Chuck was rushed for a CT scan and Siddharth Sehgal, MD, neurologist, provided a rapid diagnosis. Chuck was having an ischemic stroke, a literal “brain attack.”
When a stroke happens, saving time means saving brain. Significant advancements have been made in the field of stroke treatment in recent years; however, these treatments are most effective in the first few minutes to hours after a stroke.
Calling 911 and getting medical attention immediately has been proven to improve access to treatments and to minimize brain injury from the stroke. Stroke treatment options include tPA, the “clot-busting” medicine and mechanical thrombectomy, a minimally invasive procedure that removes blood clots without opening the skull.
While Chuck arrived at the hospital outside the treatment window to receive tPA or mechanical thrombectomy, he spent the next two days in acute care and then began intensive inpatient rehabilitation at the Tallahassee Memorial Rehabilitation Center (TMRC).
“I basically lived there for two weeks – I got help and therapy right away, which was key to my recovery honestly,” said Chuck.
Nine months after his graduation from inpatient rehabilitation, Chuck’s journey continues at the Tallahassee Memorial Neuro Rehabilitation Clinic, which resides within TMRC. Twice a week he receives intensive outpatient physical and occupational therapy with two of his therapists from the very beginning, Lauren Pelham, PT and Sue Bodziak, MOT, OTR/L.
Throughout Chuck’s stroke care, he’s demonstrated incredible perseverance and strength, both emotionally and physically, largely in part to the dedicated support of his team of therapists. It was evident that his progress was their passion, and the Urbans knew they wanted to show a small token of appreciation.
“Chuck and Katy are extremely generous – they donated vouchers for approximately 40 pairs of very nice running shoes for TMRC therapy teams. Colleagues simply presented their vouchers at a local retailer and were able to choose any shoe in the store. It was amazing,” said Sheree Porter, Director of Therapy Services. “Chuck told us that he noticed we are on our feet a lot and that being comfortable was important.”
But his generosity didn’t stop there.
Last October, Chuck participated in a trial of a new robotic arm system during occupational therapy. This technology, designed to enhance neurological therapy for stroke care, wowed Chuck and patients alike with immediate results after just one session.
“My therapists thought it would be helpful to their patients,” said Chuck. “I was in a position to help with the recovery process of other patients’, not just stroke survivors, but anyone who needed the device to assist in their recovery.”
With the help of the TMH Foundation and other generous donors, the Urbans gifted a sizeable donation for the acquisition of a robotic arm system – making TMRC the only rehabilitation center in North Florida to offer the use of robotics, the most advanced technology in rehabilitation for neurological diagnoses.
“Chuck’s hard work ethic is only surpassed by his generosity,” said Sheree. “He’s an integral force in supporting the acquisition of cutting- edge technology that will benefit many patients for years to come.”
The TMH Foundation strives to connect with grateful patients, like Chuck Urban, who
have a passion for helping the Foundation to support the hospital’s mission of transforming care, advancing health and improving lives.
If you’re a grateful patient, or know someone who is, and would like to share your story, please reach out to the TMH Foundation at Foundation@TMH.ORG.