SOURCE: National Stroke Association

National Stroke Association

September 09, 2015 09:05 ET

National Stroke Association Unveils "Come Back Strong" -- First National Movement to Rally for Stroke Recovery

#COMEBACKSTRONG

CENTENNIAL, CO--(Marketwired - Sep 9, 2015) - National Stroke Association today unveiled Come Back Strong, the first national movement to rally for stroke recovery and ignite a conversation about the #5 cause of death. Despite killing more women each year than breast cancer, stroke remains largely misunderstood when it comes to overall awareness and the opportunity for recovery.

  • Every 40 seconds someone in the U.S. has a stroke -- that's about 795,000 people every year.

  • While there are 6.5 million stroke survivors living in the U.S. today, that number is projected to swell to 10 million by the year 2030. 

These millions of Americans, and their circle of family and friends, have been left largely voiceless with no rallying point to support the journey through stroke recovery. There has been no pastel banner to march under, no symbol of strength to rally around.

Until now.

Come Back Strong declares loudly that there is hope after stroke. And while the path to recovery looks different for everyone, there is a path and there is recovery.

"This is a history-making moment for the stroke community," said Matt Lopez, CEO of National Stroke Association. "Survivors and their caregivers have been asking for a unified message, a symbol, a color to support them as they Come Back Strong from stroke. As a stroke survivor myself, I understand the desire to return to our normal selves that drives stroke survivors forward. Come Back Strong serves as a starting point to hope that one day people everywhere will understand what a stroke is, how to avoid one, and the real opportunity that exists to Come Back Strong after stroke."

The Come Back Strong movement is centered on the return symbol -- a visual symbol of strength that marks the recovery journey. Intentionally left open, the return symbol reflects the reality that while not everyone makes a full return to their former self, each survivor has the opportunity to journey forward toward a new normal.

"Since my stroke in 2005, I've learned to walk again, talk again, even swallow again," said Mark McEwen, former national television morning show anchor. "As I got stronger, I got busy and discovered a whole community of stroke survivors and caregivers. But throughout my recovery journey, there was always something gnawing at me. Whenever I saw a yellow wristband or distinctive ribbon, I thought, 'why not us?' The Come Back Strong movement changes that. This, finally, is for us. It's important, and powerful, and I think it will raise stroke awareness in a hugely impactful way."

In addition to the return symbol, the multi-faceted Come Back Strong campaign includes:

  • The Color Blue - A vibrant color of blue was chosen as the prominent color associated with stroke, updated and refreshed to reflect the hope and optimism of the Come Back Strong Movement.

  • A National Public Service Announcement (PSA) - An emotional and inspiring PSA underscoring the Come Back Strong theme.

  • STROKE.ORG - National Stroke Association's website offering the resources and support survivors need to Come Back Strong.

  • Comeback Trail Events - Series of signature national events scheduled for 2016 to rally the community behind the Come Back Strong movement. A community action day will be held Sept. 12, 2015 as the "Starting Line" of the Comeback Trail.

Central to the development of Come Back Strong was the use of an innovative research tool that allowed for expansive, personal interviews to be conducted with stroke survivors and caregivers nationwide. National Stroke Association heard personal stories of challenge and conquest, setbacks and victory. But each story, while personal and unique, carried a common thread: The shared experience of the stroke community is a story of sudden and shocking loss, despair and disorientation that slowly opens a path to hope and recovery.

"We knew that traditional focus groups and research would only get us so far," said Fabio Gratton, founder, Sonic Health. "We took a new approach to research using inVibe's voice-of-the-patient Discovery platform. This allowed us to develop a deep and truly personal understanding of the physical, mental and spiritual experience that stroke survivors go through. We discovered stroke recovery is unlike any other survivor journey. Come Back Strong pays respect to that journey."

The $1.1 million Come Back Strong initiative, led by California-based Capwell Communications in partnership with ad agency Sonic Health, includes digital, print, television, radio, events, public relations, and social media. 

About National Stroke Association
National Stroke Association offers people Hope After Stroke, so survivors and their circle of care can begin their journey to Come Back Strong. Founded in 1984, National Stroke Association is the only U.S. organization focused solely on reducing the incidence and impact of stroke through prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation support for stroke survivors and caregivers.

www.stroke.org

Available by Request: Stroke survivor interviews and hi-res artwork.