Stroke survivors and caregivers headed to camp - FOX Carolina 21

Stroke survivors and caregivers headed to camp

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The McDonalds are excited to attend first GHS sponsored stroke camp. (FOX Carolina/ Oct. 27, 2016) The McDonalds are excited to attend first GHS sponsored stroke camp. (FOX Carolina/ Oct. 27, 2016)

Seconds and minutes just tick by because time waits for no one. Just ask Debbie and her husband, Gordon McDonald.

"I kept saying 'let's just go, we can't wait here," she said.

Back in 2012 they took a cruise, then went on an excursion in a Mexican jungle.

"In the very beginning he was just confused- dropping things,he had a strange look on his face," she said.

But they didn't have cell phone service, so someone got on a moped to get help.

"They took us to a clinic because the closest hospital was about a six hours away," she said.

Gordon McDonald, a firefighter and former deputy fire marshal in Mauldin had suffered a stroke.

"I asked him to stick out his tongue and he couldn't- he could not speak," she said.

When they returned, he went to the Roger C. Peace Rehabilitation Hospital which is part of the Greenville Health System.

"He had speech therapy, he had recreational therapy," she said.

And that's when the McDonalds learned about stroke camp.

"I like it," Gordon McDonald said.

They attended in other areas now GHS is sponsoring the first in Greenville. Dr. Mahmoud Rayes is a neurologist and the stroke medical director at GHS he says seconds are crucial for stroke sufferers.

"Every minute we lose almost 1.9 million neurons," Rayes said."The medication we give through an IV is called TPA, it's a clot busting medication."

He says a stroke happens when blood flow to the brain is cut off, which can be caused by diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure.

"Generally we say the number is less than 140 over 90, eating healthy, sleeping good, physical exercise is very, very important," Rayes said.

The Retreat and Refresh Stroke Camp will feature activities for stroke survivors and their caregivers.

"The idea is to get all stroke survivors in one place so they can share stories about what they've gone through," Rayes said.

And the McDonalds say it's been tough, but with time, it got better.

The camp will be held at the Pleasant Ridge Camp and Retreat Center in Marietta on November 11-13. There are still some available spaces.

For more information, click here .

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