Thursday, May 16, 2013

Walk hopes to raise awareness and money for stroke research

KU Hospital 

A University of Kansas Medical Center professor, whose research focuses on the benefits of exercise after strokes, will walk 570 miles across the entire state of Kansas this month in support of research to study the impact of physical activity in the recovery of strokes and brain trauma.

“We hope that by walking, we will help do two things,” Sandra Billinger, Ph.D., PT, assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science said. “First, we hope to raise awareness about the benefits of physical activity, especially after a stroke. And second, we hope to raise money for new equipment to help us better understand how to fight this life-threatening condition.”

Benedict Babaran is sold on the research.  He enrolled in the study the day after he suffered a stroke on January 31, 2013.

The walk begins on May 16, about two miles west of Coolidge, Kan., and ends at the Kansas/Missouri state line at the KU Medical Center campus near 39th Avenue and State Line Road in Kansas City, Kan., on June 7th.

That’s if walkers can average 25 miles each day.  Dr. Billinger’s son, Michael, plans to walk with her the entire way.  He will turn 20 years old during the trip.

She and her son hope to raise $50,000 during her walk. The funds raised will be used to purchase new equipment that will help Billinger and her research team better measure brain blood flow to learn the impact of exercise on helping stroke patients recover. 

May is National Stroke Awareness Month. Stroke is the leading cause of disability in the United States, and the fourth leading cause of death. Kansas residents experience about 55,000 strokes each year, with a 46.5 percent average mortality rate.

The University of Kansas Hospital was one of the first five healthcare facilities in the country, and the only one in the Midwest, to be recognized as an Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center (CSC) by The Joint Commission in December.

This newest level of certification by The Joint Commission recognizes the significant differences in resources, staff and training necessary for the treatment of complex stroke cases.

The stroke program at The University of Kansas Hospital was previously recognized as a primary stroke center by The Joint Commission in 2006, and has earned the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines Gold Plus Awards for stroke and heart care.